Eleven out of the 12 fatalities from a traffic accident that occurred in the south-central province of Binh Thuan on Sunday morning will soon be identified after their severely burnt bodies are examined.
Authorities have officially stated that 12 people had been killed and 40 others injured in an horrific accident involving two passenger buses and a truck.
A coach from the Phuong Trang passenger bus line was traveling from the central province of Quang Ngai to Ho Chi Minh City on National Highway 1 at around 4:15 am, when it collided with another bus from the Son Quy passenger line running in the opposite direction.
Both buses burst into flames following the head-on collision, before a truck traveling from Ho Chi Minh City also crashed into them.
According to Colonel Pham That, deputy chief of the Binh Thuan Department of Police, one of the deceased victims was identified as Phan Van Thao, driver of the Phuong Trang bus.
Provincial police are coordinating with the Ministry of Public Security to carry out autopsies on the burnt bodies in order to identify the other 11 victims, Col. That added.
If samples of fingernails or tissues including fresh blood are found on the corpses, identification would take about four to five hours, said Dang Mai Anh Tuan, an official at the Ho Chi Minh City forensic center.
However, if only bone and teeth samples are able to be collected, it could take three to five days, Tuan added.
Family members of several victims have provided DNA samples of the deceased to help expedite the process. So far six passengers have been identified.
The wounded are being treated at the Ham Thuan Nam Hospital in Binh Thuan, of which three have been transferred to the Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City
According to Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, an injured victim staying at the infirmary in Binh Thuan, she was asleep when the accident happened.
When she woke up, the passenger bus was on fire, Phuong said, adding that she and some other travelers managed to escape through a broken window.
“People were screaming for help amid the flames at the time. After only a minute or two, they all became quiet,” the women recounted.
A large number of traffic police, inspectors and rescuers have been dispatched to the scene of the accident to control traffic and investigate the case.
According to a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper source, the truck driver claimed that he was driving in front of the Son Quy bus before the incident.
As the bus attempted to pass the truck, it collided with the Phuong Trang coach running in the opposite lane, the truck driver added.
Le Dinh Tho, Deputy Minister of Transport, stated on Sunday afternoon that the crash would not have happened if there had been a median strip on the road.
He also ordered local authorities to inspect the safety on those parts of National Highway 1 without median strips.
According to Pham Van Nam, deputy director of the provincial Department of Transport, several serious accidents had occurred on that parts.
By around 4:30 pm on Sunday, inspection of the vehicles and investigation of the scene were complete.