A fire on a double-decker bus carrying migrant workers to a Bangkok factory has killed 20 people.
The bus burst into flames at about 1.30am on Friday in Tak province in western Thailand on the border with Myanmar.
Local media said the workers were from Myanmar and had been heading to a factory in an industrial area near Bangkok.
Police Lieutenant Raewat Aiemtak said 27 people managed to escape the bus, one of whom was severely burned.
He said the driver reported that the fire started in the middle of the bus and spread quickly.
People in the front managed to escape but those in the back were trapped.
Pictures showed the bus burned to a skeleton after firefighters put the blaze out.
The cause of the crash and fire is being investigated. The road was in excellent condition and with no collision involved, the crash might have stemmed from the condition of the bus, human error or recklessness. The provincial transport office and related agencies are to implement stricter road safety measures in future, especially during the upcoming Songkran Festival.
Meanwhile, Dr Thanapong Jinawong, chief of the Road Safety Policy Foundation, suggested the bus was overloaded with 47 passengers onboard (excluding the Thai driver and two accompanying persons), while a bus of that design was limited to a capacity of 40 people.
It is being asked whether the extra people were blocking their escape. The authorities must also check why the fire spread unusually fast. With the bus chartered to run out of its usual district-to-district route schedule, it is not known whether the Land Transport Office had been informed about this and whether the bus had undergone the required maintenance check-up and safety gear inspection.
A district-level bus would not carry a GPS device, so the authority could not control or trace how fast the bus was travelling when the fire broke out.
The incident is the latest in a series of bus crashes in Thailand, which has the second-highest rate of traffic fatalities in the world after Libya, according to the World Health Organisation.
On 21 March a tour bus lost control on a downhill curve in the northeast and slid off the road, killing 18 and injuring 33.
The day after, a school bus taking pupils on a trip in the central province of Ayutthaya skidded in the rain and flipped, injuring 39 people.
(Source:-Sky News and The Nation,Thailand)