Seven people were killed and 17 others seriously injured Wednesday morning when a truck filled with a cargo of cassava, and on which 27 workers were sitting, veered out of control and overturned in Kratie province, police said.
The truck was transporting cassava from a nearby plantation in Snuol district and was heading back to Krek commune in Kompong Cham province’s Ponhea Krek district, where all 27 workers were from, when the truck’s axel snapped at 10:30 a.m., and the driver lost control, deputy district police chief Song Ngoy said.
“When the axel broke, the driver could not control the heavy truck as it approached a slope and he jumped from the vehicle causing it to veer and overturn into a dried up pond,” he said, adding that the driver fled the scene and has not yet been found.
“Six died instantly when the truck flipped as they were buried by the cassava,” he said, adding that 17 other seriously injured passengers were transported to nearby hospitals.
Four of the six people who died at the scene were women—Oeun Sary, 19, Kin Sotra, 30, Kin Chenda, 30, Chhoeun Nonsrey, 30—while the two males were named as Chim Kan, 32, and Oeuth Tith, 16. A seventh person was reported to have died late last night but police did not confirm the victim’s identity.
Traffic accidents involving workers traveling in unsafe vehicles are a regular occurrence on the roads, with overcrowded trucks a common feature of transport related to the garment industry and agricultural production.