BANGKOK – Twenty Myanmar migrant workers died as a fire tore through a bus taking them from a Thai border town to Bangkok, officials said.
It was not immediately clear how the blaze started early yesterday on the bus one of four travelling together to the Thai capital.
But television footage showed a bus destroyed by fire, which trapped many passengers inside.
“The death toll is now 20, with three people injured,” Pollawat Sapsongsuk of the Tak Disaster Prevention and Mitigation centre said.
The accident took place at 1.25am in the north-western province of Tak which borders Myanmar, a source of much of Thailand’s huge migrant labour force.
Of low status and poorly paid, migrant workers often fall victim to safety lapses and exploitation in Thailand.
The kingdom has a poor road safety record on crashes, with around 24,000 people perishing on its roads each year, according to the World Health Organization.
Last week 18 people died when a bus veered of the road and smashed into a tree in the north-east of the country.
The driver of that bus later confessed to being on drugs at the time of the crash. — AFP