Source: Vientiane Times
Seven people were killed and 20 passengers were seriously injured on Sunday night when a bus rolled down a steep hillside after its brakes failed while travelling from Phongsaly province to Vientiane.
The bus was driving down Phou Kao Lak (9 km steep mountain road) mountain between Nan district in Luang Prabang province and Kasy district, Vientiane province when the accident happened in Khokmeuad village, Kasy district.
Head of the Traffic Police in Vientiane province, Lieutenant Colonel Chanthanom Sithammavan, said the bus was carrying 27 people including the driver. The accident occurred at 11:30pm on Sunday.
“When we went to the scene of the accident we found four bodies and helped people who were seriously injured. In the morning we found another two bodies, and in the meantime one person had died in hospital,” he added.
“We learnt that the driver lost control of the bus when the brakes failed as it was going down a steep hill. The vehicle ran off the road and plunged about 30 metres down the hillside.”
He said the road was a short cut between Vientiane province and Xayaboury and Luang Prabang provinces. The authorities have advised drivers of vehicles that are mechanically unsound not to use this road because it is very steep in places and travel is hazardous.
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Buses and similar vehicles should instead use Road No. 13 North, which takes longer but is a safer route.
Some areas of the road on Phou Kao Lak (9 km steep mountain road) are under repair, Lt Col Chanthanom said.
“Yesterday, there was another accident on the road passing over Khokkhaodor mountain between Vientiane and Xayaboury provinces. A foreigner riding a motorbike died when he collided with a van. And a truck drove off the road while travelling over Phoufa mountain on the way to Hinheub district, killing one person and injuring others,” he added.
To prevent accidents, he asked road users to be alert while driving and to strictly follow the traffic regulations especially as repairs are currently under way on Road No. 13 North.
A member of a rescue team in Vientiane told media yesterday “We received an emergency call at 9am yesterday. We rushed to the airport to pick up 10 people who had been injured in the accident on Phou Kao Lak mountain after they had been brought to Vientiane by helicopter. We did not only use our vehicles to transport the injured people to hospital – ambulances also came from local hospitals. Eight of the 10 injured people were seriously hurt.”