Chiang Mai songthaew brake failure kills 2 tourists

Two tourists from the southern province of Phangnga were killed after their parked “songthaew” taxi slid down a slope in front of Bhubing Rajanives Palace in Chiang Mai’s Muang district on Tuesday morning.

Phuping police station was alerted to the accident at around 11.30am. The rescue team and police found two bodies lying in a pool of blood in front of the songthaew, a converted pick-up truck fitted with two benches and a roof.

The victims were later identified as Kanokporn Thongyiram, 60, and Duangchan Phongdet, 64. La-iead Charoenrat, 75, was injured and rushed to hospital. The songthaew driver Yongyuth Boonlert, 46, suffered scratches.

Image by Chiang Mai Disaster Prevention Volunteer via FM91 Trafficpro Facebook page.

A preliminary investigation revealed that the unfortunate tourists had travelled along with 35 others from Phangnga with Takua Pa Tour company. The company hired four songthaews to transport the group to tourist attractions around Wat Doi Suthep. 

After visiting the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, the group toured the Bhubing palace and then reassembled in the parking area in front. The three victims got on the songthaew, which had its handbrake applied and a brick behind one of the tyres.

When the driver removed the brick in preparation to start the engine, the truck started moving downhill. One passenger was able to jump out, but the two others were thrown out and then run over by the vehicle as it plunged down an embankment.

The driver was detained for questioning pending possible legal action. 

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