An overloaded pick-up truck overturned in Bang Phli district of this central province early on Sunday, killing 17 students from a technical college in the northeastern province of Si Sa Ket, and seriously wounding the driver, police said.
Pol Lt Col Samran Chuaythao, a Bang Kaew police duty officer, said the accident occurred at about 1 am on King Kaew road.
A taxi driver who witnessed the accident told police that shortly before 1 am he saw a pick-up truck run out of Soi King Kaew 2 at a high speed. On the main King Kaew road, the pick-up headed for Lat Krabang on the right lane.
At one point, the pick-up suddenly skidded off the road onto the footpath and rammed into two roadside power posts and overturned. The two power posts were broken.
The twelve students who were traveling on the rear of the pick-up were thrown onto the road by the violent impact and killed on the spot, while five other students sitting inside the vehicle and the driver were seriously injured.
The bodies of the 12 students were left scattered on the road.
The six injured were rushed to Chularat 9 Hospital for treatment. Of the six, five died later of serious injuries at the hospital, adding up the death toll to 17.
A police investigation revealed that all of the 17 passengers who died were students of Si Sa Ket Technical College.
They were sent to undergo job training at a garage called Patara Body Service in Soi King Kaew 22/2.
On Saturday, the last day of the job training, a feast was held at the garage to celebrate the end of their training. The celebration went on until late in the night.
The students, who had been served with alcohol and beer, went on to Soi King Kaew 2 where a mor lam, a northeastern-style entertaining show, was held.
After the end of the show, they left on the pick-up along the main King Kaew road, where the incident happened.
Police were examining the footage of all security cameras in the area and would interview the driver, who was seriously injured, after he recovers, to establish the cause of the accident.