Six Dead and Nine Injured in Fiery Gas Truck Crash in Pursat

Six people died and eight were seriously injured early Friday morning when a truck transporting gasoline crashed into a passenger van in Pursat province, local police said.

The accident occurred as the truck, an empty gasoline tanker belonging to the Bright Victory Mekong Petroleum Company that was traveling from Battam­bang to Phnom Penh, veered into the wrong lane as it passed through Krakor district’s Ansar Chambak commune at around 6 a.m., according to district police chief Em Run.

“The truck driver transporting the gasoline might have fallen asleep for a while and then crashed into the van going in the opposite direction,” he said.

The impact killed the driver of the passenger van, Math Ny, 41, along with five of his passengers, an extended family of Cham Mus­lims from Kompong Chhnang province who had been traveling to Siem Reap province, according to Chem Yoeun, the police chief of the commune where most of them lived.

Mr. Yoeun named three of those who died in the accident as Seun Maly, 51, his son Chin Risath, 13, and his daughter El Smei, 10. Mr. Maly’s two wives were also in the van and were seriously injured. He said the other two victims had not lived in his commune and he was not sure who they were.

Mr. Run said that the eight in­jured passengers were all in such poor condition that they had not been able to speak to police, making identification of the dead difficult, and that he was not certain of their names, either.

“We were too busy getting all the victims to the hospital and we had no time to question them,” he said. “The injured people could not even speak to us because they seemed to be unconscious and some looked to be in so much pain.”

The truck driver fled the scene of the accident and authorities are seeking to arrest him, Mr. Run said. He said police were aware of the man’s identity, but he de­clined to name him.

“I got the driver’s ID and his company ID card,” he said.

He added that police were planning to contact Bright Victory Me­kong Petroleum “to solve the problem of the accident,” al­though he did not elaborate on what penalties the company might face.

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