At least 30 people died and more than 20 were injured when a bus careered off a hillside road and into a ravine in northern Thailand, authorities said yesterday.
The accident happened about 8.40 pm on Monday in the western province of Tak, which borders Myanmar, as several buses ferried Thai local government workers for a field trip to Laos.
Of the dead, 21 were women, said Suriya Prasartbandid, the provincial governor. A child was among the 22 others injured.
"The bus was totally destroyed. Its engine fell out and we're waiting for heavy machinery to lift the wreckage," Suriya said.
He said there were more than 300 accidents on the same road last year.
Thailand's roads are among the world's deadliest and accidents are common, especially on buses travelling late at night. A recent report by the World Health Organisation said Thailand saw 38.1 road deaths per 100,000 people in 2010 - behind only the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and the South Pacific island of Niue.
"The brakes failed as the bus came downhill on a hilly road and it crashed through the concrete barrier and fell into a 150-metre deep ravine," a local police captain, Sittichai Panyasong, said.
Thirteen schoolchildren died last month when their bus collided with a truck on a trip to the resort city of Pattaya.