At least 18 people were killed and more than 40 injured in Thailand on Sunday when a freight train crashed into a bus taking passengers to a religious ceremony, officials said.
The morning collision, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of the capital Bangkok, overturned the bus on its side and cut off part of its roof.
Dozens of injured passengers were rushed to nearby medical facilities for treatment, said provincial hospital director Sombat Chutimanukul.
“Four are in critical condition and eight remain under surveillance” of the 23 admitted to her hospital, she told reporters.
Thai State Railways Governor Nirut Maneephan confirmed to reporters the death toll at the crash site.
Images shared by a government ministry showed the bus passing from the road to the train tracks before a blue freight train slammed into the flank.
The first photos taken by rescuers showed knotty metal and debris, with bodies lying near the rails and personal effects scattered around the scene.
Rescuers lifted the injured on stretchers into ambulances parked nearby, and a crane arrived early in the afternoon to lift the vehicle from the tracks so that police could better assess the carnage.
There were around 60 passengers on the chartered bus traveling from neighboring Samut Prakan province to a temple in Chachoengsao, provincial governor Maitree Tritilanond said.
They planned to offer yellow robes to the monks – a traditional ceremony held within a month of the end of Buddhist Lent, he told reporters.
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha offered his condolences and instructed authorities to investigate the cause of the crash, a government spokesperson said in a statement.
Such fatal crashes are common in Thailand, which regularly tops the lists of the world‘s deadliest roads, with speeding, drunk driving and weak law enforcement all contributing factors. .
Thailand has the second highest road fatality rate in the world, according to a 2018 report from the World Health Organization.
Although the majority of the victims are motorcyclists, bus accidents involving groups of tourists and migrant workers often make headlines.
In March 2018, at least 18 people were killed and dozens injured when a bus carrying people returning from vacations in northeast Thailand swerved from the road and crashed into a tree.
Trips across the kingdom were thrown into disarray over the weekend by a massive storm that hit the region, leaving roads in poor condition and some provinces inundated with flooding.
(This story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)