Black box reveals bus involved in deadly Vietnam accident was speeding

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The black box of the bus that plunged off a bridge in Vietnam's Central Highlands last week killing 34 people shows the vehicle was speeding when the accident happened, news website VnExpress reported Monday.

It quoted Le Xuan Bieu, director of the Dak Lak Province Department of Transport, as saying that in the minute and a half before it crashed into the railing of the Serepok Bridge last Thursday night, the bus was traveling at erratic speeds. The 176-meter long bridge links Dak Lak and Dak Nong provinces.

At 10:18:35 p.m. the speed recorded was 79 kilometers per hour, but a minute and two seconds later it decreased to 42 km. At the time of the crash, 10:20:11, the speed increased again to 74 km, he said.

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"Usually, when crossing a bridge, depending on conditions, drivers are supposed to decrease their speed to safe levels, but the vehicle had exceeded allowed speeds.

"The records show that the bus was traveling abnormally, but only experts can make a detailed analysis."

The black box recorded the bus's speed and other details, while its camera shot the images of passengers boarding the bus, Bieu said.

So it is just one of the tools for related agencies to identify the cause of the accident which also left 24 others critically injured after the bus fell 18 meters into a river below, he said.

"Authorities have yet to reach a final conclusion, but it can be confirmed that ... the bus committed two major violations speeding and carrying too many passengers."

It had been carrying 55 passengers though the maximum permitted is only 47. Both drivers and the conductor on the bus died.

Do Binh Chinh, deputy director of the transport department, told Thanh Nien that experts from various agencies, including the provincial police department, will conduct tests on the bridge, road, and bus.

The vehicle was operated by the Dak Lak-based Quyet Thang Transport Cooperative.

The investigation is continuing.

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