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10 injured when breaks fail on truck carrying migrant workers

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IMNA : A truck carrying migrant workers overturned after its breaks failed, resulting in 10 injuries, in Kanjanaburi Provice, Thailand.

On January 21st around 8:30 am, a large 6 wheeled truck carrying 27 migrant workers, including 5 children, crashed 2 miles outside of Sangkhalaburi, Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand.

7 migrant workers sustained light injuries in the accident, while 2 migrants and1 immigration police officer were sent to the emergency room. The 3 were treated briefly in Sangkhalaburi hospital before being taken to a hospital in Khanjanaburi.

The immigration officer was injured when jumping down onto the truck, which had slid of the road.According to Police who responded to the accident, the truck crashed because its brake failed after its engine seized up while trying to carry the migrant workers up the hilly road loading to Sanghalaburi.

According to the migrant workers who were passengers, the truck was carrying so many people and baggage that it was not able to make it up the road.

“When we were discussing with immigration police to go back [to Three Pagoda Pass], they said they would set up two trucks for us –one truck to carry the workers’ things and another one to carry only the people. But when we actually left, they setup only one truck for us 27 passengers and our belongings.”

The tuck was apparently not strong enough to carry 27 people and baggage up the hill. According to passengers, after attempting to reach the top of one of the hills, the engine failed. The breaks were destroyed trying to hold back the weight of the truck and passengers, and rolled back down the hill before overturning in a ditch on the side of the road.

The migrant workers, who came from jobs all over Thailand, had been trying to reach the Thai/Burma border to return home to visit family. The majority of the passengers possessed worker IDs that allowed them to work at a site in Thailand, but restricted their travel to the district in which they worked.

To return to the border each migrant worker had to pay 4,500 bhat to ride in the truck provided by the immigration department.

The director of Rehmonya Labor Union (RLU), Nai Kao Tala Rot, said that the immigration police will likely take responsibility for migrants who were hurt. Those who are unhurt will be returned to Burma.

“Immigration police should have taken more care about the migrant workers,” Nai Kao Tala Rot commented “They should have checked their truck before [loading everyone into it].”

This is not the first time an accident involving migrant works occurred in Kanjanaburi Province. In March 2007 a Thai immigration officer was killed and 13 migrant laborers were injured when the tire of the truck carrying the passengers burst in Three Pagoda Pass. In June 2006, a truck carrying 52 migrant workers entering Thailand illegally overturned, killing one woman and injuring 13. The accident was caused by the driver speeding after he believed he was being pursued by police.

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