RANGOON — A coach traveling on the Rangoon–Naypyidaw-Mandalay express highway skidded off a bridge on Monday, killing 14 passengers on board and injuring 30 others. It was the latest deadly accident on the highway that has so far seen 80 people killed and 350 injured this year.
On Monday evening, the bus of Yazamin Express company headed to Rangoon from Naypyidaw, but the vehicle hydroplaned during heavy rains and fell from a viaduct down into a gorge soon after it left Burma’s capital.
Of the 44 people on board, 14 people were reported dead on Tuesday and 30 are injured, according to Naypyidaw General Hospital staff.
“Many people died on the spot. Most of the bodies were collected only when a crane arrived to lift the wreckage as they were under the bus. We had to break windows to retrieve injured passengers. Three are in critical condition,” said Myo Thet Paing, a member of the rescue team member of the Naypyidaw Red Cross.
French news agency AFP quoted Naypyidaw police as saying there were no foreign passengers on board the bus.
On April 12, a bus collided with a car on the same highway in an accident that left 12 people dead.
Known as ‘Death Highway’, the 366-mile concrete road links Rangoon and Mandalay and was built in 2009 under the former military regime as a short cut to Burma’s newly-built capital in Naypyidaw, which is located in between Burma’s two biggest cities. Engineers involved in the road’s construction have told The Irrawaddy that few road safety measures were put in place as the transport link to the new political capital had to be completed quickly on orders of military commanders.
During the past five years, 730 accidents were reported on the road in which 367 people were dead and 1114 injured.