Overloaded Van Crash Injures Thirty-Five Garment Workers

Dozens of garment workers were injured, three seriously, after a van transporting them to work overturned on National Road 1 in Svay Rieng province on Friday, police and health officials said Sunday.

The accident occurred early Friday morning as the van was transporting 35 workers to the Dragon King Special Economic Zone in Bavet City, according to Kuoy Yang, the city’s traffic police chief.

Mr. Yang said the van could only safely hold 15 passengers and was badly overloaded, causing the vehicle’s drive shaft to snap.

“The van overturned because the front of the drive shaft broke and smashed against the road,” he said. “The van was too old, and the driver had more than 30 passengers.”

Mr. Yang said police were seeking to arrest the driver, Oeng Saruot, who fled the scene of the accident and remains at large.

All of the workers in the van were injured and sent for treatment at the Chi Phu hospital in Bavet City. Three were sent on to Calmette Hospital in Phnom Penh due to the seriousness of their injuries, while another four were transferred to the provincial referral hospital, according to Keo Ratha, director of the provincial health department.

“There are six or seven workers who are still in a bad condition today,” he said Sunday.

Mr. Ratha said two of the three workers who were sent to Calmette were being treated for broken collarbones, the third for a serious head wound.

Prak Sambath, director of the Chi Phu hospital, said most of the 35 workers were suffering from head injuries.

The accident in Svay Rieng is just the latest in a string of crashes involving the trucks and vans that transport the nation’s garment workers to and from their factories. The vehicles are often poorly maintained, overloaded, and operated by untrained, unlicensed drivers.

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