BANGKOK (AP) — Eight people were killed when a freight train struck a pickup truck that was crossing railway tracks in an eastern province of Thailand early Friday morning, authorities said.
The accident at 2:20 a.m. (19:20 GMT) also injured four people in the Muang district of Chachoengsao province, according to the State Railway of Thailand.
The 54-year-old driver, Wichai Yulek, told authorities he saw the approaching train and heard a warning horn. He slowed, but passengers in the vehicle urged him to keep going. When he realized the truck was headed for a collision, he could not stop in time, the railway agency said.
Suraphat Prasop, 20, was in the truck carrying workers to Laem Chabang in Chonburi Province. He told authorities that he saw the train approaching as the vehicle was about to cross the railway. Despite hearing the train’s horn blast three times, the driver did not stop, he said.
The deceased included three women ages 22, 55 and 64 and five men ages 18, 27, 55, 60 and 62, the rail agency said.
The bodies were taken to a police hospital to allow relatives to prepare for religious rites.
The site of the accident on a concrete road was at an unauthorized crossing without any automatic barriers to prevent crossings when trains approach. There are 693 unauthorized crossing points currently being used along the national rail system, the agency said.
Despite the crossing being unsanctioned, a photo of the accident site provided by authorities shows lights and warning signs there.