14 Dead, 33 Injured in Bus Crash in West Burma

Injured passengers are brought to Taungup Hospital in Arakan State on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Pho Khaung)

Injured passengers are brought to Taungup Hospital in Arakan State on Wednesday afternoon. (Photo: Pho Khaung)

A passenger bus travelling from Rangoon to Arakan State swerved off the road and fell down a mountainside on Wednesday, killing people 14 and injuring 33 others, according to initial Burmese police reports

The accident occurred on Wednesday morning at 3 am, about 30 miles away from Taungup Township, when an overnight bus travelling through the Arakan Mountains in western Burma plunged 40 meters down a mountain slope, a post on the official Facebook page of the Myanmar Police Force said.

The report provided few details of the accident, other than mentioning that it had been caused by “a problem with the brakes” of the bus.

Medical staff at the Taungup Township Hospital told The Irrawaddy by telephone on Wednesday that 17 of 33 surviving crash victims were in a serious condition, adding that 12 had already transferred to the larger hospital in Thandwe City.

The other five severely injured victims were receiving treatment in Taungup Township Hospital, local staff said, adding that most victims suffered broken limbs and head trauma.

Min Aung, chairman of the National League for Democracy party in Taungup Township, said he was taking part in the rescue effort, adding that the mountainous conditions made it difficult for authorities and rescue workers to retrieve the victims from the crash site.

“The injured people were sent to the hospital with other buses,” he said. “As the bus fell a very long way down, we are still collecting the dead bodies.” “It takes about 30 minutes to bring a dead body up to the road,” Min Aung added.

Si Thu Lwin, a friend of a man called Win Zaw, who was being treated in Taungup Hospital, said that it remained unclear what had caused the bus to swerve off the road and into the valley below.

“My friend cannot speak well at the moment. He managed to tell me that the bus went down into the valley, but he did not know why,” Si Thu Lwin said.

There are dozens of passenger buses that make daily trips from Rangoon to Thandwe—usually at night—and accidents on the way are common. The death toll in Wednesday’s crash however, is believed to be one of the highest in recent years.

Road connections between Rangoon and Arakan State on Burma’s western coast pass through the Arakan Mountains, where poor roads are a constant hazard to passenger and goods transport.

Local businessman Kyauk Taun is understood to have won a bid for a government order to renovate the roads in the region several years ago. Currently, he is collecting road fees from cars and buses passing through, yet much of the roads remain in an extremely poor condition.


One Response to 14 Dead, 33 Injured in Bus Crash in West Burma

  1. Bus Driver all over Myanmar are free to do what they want as police charges into own pockets rather than stop one, seen daily in Yangon. A meter in a Bus to check all time how fast a bus drove the past hours and how long a driver drove without sleep is a must.
    Bus Drivers which do not stand with the law as daily in Yangon , must loose the license but more the Bus Owner must loose the Bus for a year — that financially loss will only bring the Bus and Truck driver back to Law & Order…..
    U Kyaung Taung need to be named with former Rakhine Division Commander and than last Construction Minister U Khin Maung Myint , in Myanmar people why he was permitted to resign , through him U Kyaung Taung of Nila Thitsar company got the road construction jobs as also in Thandwe & Ngapali which are all most poor repaired never well done.
    The Bus was a very new Air Con Bus with ABS break system and sure if the brakes had a problem the driver would have driven very careful after already 8 hours in the mountains and at this last part,—- simply the Driver fell in sleep shortly as eye whitness said and the death toll rose to over 26 by now with the poorest hospital conditions in Taunguk ( U Kyaung Taungs home , more dead is expected… Several dead bodies from Ngapali were all missing their big jewlery and gems after rescue when the bodies arrived at their families homes for funeral …

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