A van carrying journalists and Red Cross staff from Phnom Penh to a flooded area in Battambang province crashed into a bus Wednesday afternoon, killing two people and leaving at least two more in a critical condition, police said.
Three journalists and four Red Cross staff were in the van on their way to Banan district’s Ta Kream commune where Bun Rany, Cambodia Red Cross president and wife of Prime Minister Hun Sen, is scheduled to deliver aid to flood victims Thursday.
“The two men sitting in the front died and five others were injured when their van crashed into the back of a Capitol [Tours] bus,” Battambang provincial traffic police chief Sath Kimsann said.
Seak Phea, deputy police chief in Mong Russei district where the accident occurred, said that it was likely that the driver of the van was at fault.
The van’s driver attempted to overtake a Capitol Tours bus but then tried to pull back when he saw a truck coming toward him, Mr. Phea said. “That is when the van collided with the bus.”
The driver of the van, Red Cross worker Sok Vichet, and Koh Santepheap newspaper journalist Ty Uy Song died at the scene, while Sroy Nika of Rasmei Kampuchea newspaper and Bun Ra, a Hang Meas TV cameraman, remain in critical condition in the hospital, according to Meas Rithy, a colleague of Mr. Ra’s.
In a separate road accident on Tuesday, one woman was killed and three others were seriously injured when a Rith Mony passenger bus in Pursat province’s Krakor district overturned due to a flat tire, police said.
“A 24-year-old woman named Srey Lis was crushed underneath the bus and was killed immediately upon impact,” said Theth Sovanthy, deputy police chief in Ansar Chambak commune where the bus crashed.
Mr. Sovanthy added that three other passengers sustained injuries, there were no foreigners on board the bus and the driver, 40-year-old Nov Vannak, fled the scene immediately after the crash.
When asked if the victim’s family would receive compensation, Sam Vichet, assistant to the director of Rith Mony Transport Co., Ltd., said that his company was not responsible.
“Because we buy insurance from Caminco [Cambodian National Insurance Company], they take full responsibility whenever such events happen,” he said.
Last year, a spate of serious tour bus accidents, including three in one month involving Rith Mony and its partner company, Paramount Angkor Express, led the Ministry of Public Works and Transport to announce that bus companies guilty of speeding, breaking traffic laws or causing injury to passengers would risk losing their license after three accidents.
Paramount and Rith Mony have since used up their three strikes, though neither has had their licenses revoked.
(Additional reporting by Marisa Marcelino)