Eleven people, including two children, have died after a passenger van crashed in central Thailand during the Lunar New Year holiday. All died of burns in Monday’s accident, police said. News AFP

Road accidents are a common occurrence in this state of Thailand. This road has a record of more accidents especially during public holidays.

Police Colonel Yngios Poldez said the van carrying 12 people was heading to Bangkok from the northeastern Amanat Charoen province. It was en route when it derailed from the highway in central Nakhon Ratchasima province on Saturday night.

One person managed to climb out of a window, but other passengers were trapped and burned to death, Ingios told AFP. Only one youth named Thanachit Kingkau (20) survived the incident. He is a student. According to him, he was asleep and woke up hearing people screaming in his sleep.

‘I woke up and the next thing I knew, the van had overturned,’ he said. I didn’t see what happened. After the accident, the fire started from the rear and engulfed the entire van. I started kicking the window and managed to crawl out through a small hole. Soon after, the van exploded.’

Nikhom Siun, a volunteer with a local rescue team, said the explosion took place seconds after the van caught fire. The fire took less than 30 seconds to engulf the entire van. I couldn’t do anything with the fire extinguisher I had. The van then exploded three to four times.

Police Colonel Yngyos said the van used both fuel and compressed gas but initial reports indicated that the gas tank did not leak. We believe that the fire was caused by fuel. They are still investigating.

(January 23)