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Vietnam premier orders probe into bus crash that killed 12

Vietnam premier orders probe into bus crash that killed 12

Wednesday, September 03, 2014, 16:38 GMT+7

Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on Tuesday required the Ministry of Public Security and relevant authorities to launch a full investigation into a fatal bus crash in the northern province of Lao Cai which left 12 people dead and 41 others injured one day earlier.

>> Vietnam transport minister climbs down ravine to visit bus crash site

The premier also ordered that authorities strictly punish those responsible for the deadly accident. PM Dung also sent his deep condolences to all the dead and injured victims.  

Initial investigations have showed that the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and caused the accident, according to Colonel Nguyen Thien Tuan from the provincial Traffic Police Department.

Overloading is believed to be a contributing factor. The bus, which is operated by Sao Viet Company, is designed to have 46 sleeper seats and one sitting seat, but it was transporting 53 people, including two drivers and a driver’s assistant, at the time of the accident.

However, Colonel Giang Ly Pao, the province’s vice police chief, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday that it will take a long time to determine the main cause of the tragedy.

According to the Ministry of Health, all the 41 passengers injured in the crash are being treated free of charge and offered free meals.  

Bao Viet, the country’s largest insurance company, is expected to pay an estimated compensation of VND1 billion (roughly US$47,000) to all victims on the ill-fated vehicle.

Also on Tuesday, Vietnamese Minister of Transport Dinh La Thang walked down a valley in Lao Cai to examine the bus crash site.

Minister Thang then asked rescuers to continue searching for survivors and those still trapped under the debris of the badly damaged double-decker bus. He also suggested using police dogs in the search and rescue mission.   

On Monday evening, a sleeper bus owned by Sao Viet transport firm carrying 53 people collided with a car and then fell into an abyss in Lao Cai, leaving 12 people dead and 41 others injured.Tuoi Tre then sent reporters to the scene to check if there was any foreigner on the bus, as it traveled on a route frequently used by international visitors to Vietnam.

But there was nobody with foreign nationality on the vehicle, local authorities said.

At about 6:30 pm, the double-decker bus was running on National Highway 4D in Bat Xat District, about 15km from Sa Pa town, when it hit a four-seater car. The bus had earlier departed from Sa Pa, a popular tourist destination in the north.

After the collision, the bus dropped into a 200-meter-deep ravine while the car with two passengers inside only sustained damage to its front end.

The crash killed one bus passenger instantly while injuring the other 52 people. All of those wounded were taken to Lao Cai General Hospital, but 11 of them died on the way, said Khuat Viet Hung, deputy head of the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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