BANGKOK (AP) — Nine Cambodians on their way home for a holiday break died when their van crashed into a tree and burst into flames in eastern Thailand, police said Friday.
The van, carrying more than 20 passengers, took a sharp turn, veered off the road and smashed into a tree in Thamai district in Chanthaburi province early Friday morning, Police Col. Somchai Treesukhon said.
Eight construction workers and one child died in the blaze, while 15 others, mostly Cambodians, were hurt in the accident.
"The accident took place at a sharp curve and there was a long screeching tire track before the car went off the road," Somchai told The Associated Press. "We believe the van's driver was not familiar with the route."
The workers were heading back to Cambodia from the central province of Ayutthaya for the Thai New Year holiday. Thailand has more than 1 million migrant workers, most of whom are from Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos.
The crash took place at the beginning of Thailand's New Year holidays, which is usually accompanied by a spike in the number of deadly road accidents. Such accidents are common in Thailand, where safety standards are poor and road rules are rarely enforced. Last year, more than 8,600 people died in accidents on Thai roads.