AFP reports that a tour bus transporting a group of foreign tourists from Bangkok to Phangan, some 400 miles or 650 kilometers to the south, suddenly crashed into a electrical pylon earlier today (July 3) and overturned, killing at least ten passengers and seriously injuring some seventeen others. The accident occurred in the Kanchanadit district of Surat Thani province.
COMMENT: It is too early to determine the nationalities of those killed and injured; this report will be updated as new information becomes available.
As I have mentioned in numerous and previous postings, long-range tour bus travel greater than two hours in duration brings with it considerable risk to passengers, particularly given the poor maintenance of roads in rural Thailand, the deficient maintenance of buses themselves, predictably fatigued drivers and non-existent traffic enforcement.
I fully understand that many tourists take tour buses because they are inexpensive, yet the collateral safety risks are often extraordinary in terms of arriving in one piece. Our readers are urged to conduct a posting search using the words "bus accidents" to see a sobering reminder of just how dangerous long range bus travel can be.
Indeed, domestic flights are much, much safer than lengthy bus travel. They also save travelers precious in-country time to engage in other activities.
If tourists and travelers must travel long distances by bus, they are urged to subscribe to international medical treatment and evacuation insurance before leaving home which will ensure that if injured, travelers will be treated at no cost to themselves. If they don't have such coverage, most clinics and hospitals will demand full payment in advance BEFORE they are treated.
I have repeatedly offered to provide readers a list of providers of such insurance, yet to date, not one has yet to request such a list.