Elephant killed, driver badly hurt in bus crash (Thailand)


The Bangkok Post

Date Published

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A male elephant was killed and a man badly hurt when an interprovincial bus rammed into it in Hang Chat district late Friday night. All passengers on board the bus were unhurt.

The Bangkok-Chiang Mai air-conditioned bus, carrying 25 passengers, were travelling on Lampang-Chiang Mai route when it hit the pachyderm walking on the road near Khun Tan hill in Hang Chat district at around 10pm on Friday, said police. The bus was operated by state-run Transport Co.

The force of the crash killed the elephant on the spot. Bus driver Narit Jittrong, 45, was badly injured and trapped in the driver’s seat.

Rescue workers took more than one hour to extricate the driver from the wreckage. He was rushed  to a nearby hospital, while other passengers on board were not injured.

Pol Col Virot Saeng-iem, deputy investigation chief at Hang Chat police station, said an investigation found that the elephant was on the loose from its shelter and was walking on the road during the crash. The bus was going up Khun Tan hill at the time and the driver could not see the elephant walking in the darkness, causing the bus to crash into the animal.

The elephant,‘’Plai Udom’’, 8, was under the care of the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation, which was about to release the animal into Doi Phamuang wildlife sanctuary in Hang Chang before the crash. The pachyderm was in the stage of adjusting itself before being returned to the forest.

The jumbo earlier broke loose on Sept 8 this year and was found searching for food at a roadside forest near Khun Tan highway service unit.