Bus-train crash injures 11 in northern Vietnam

By Mai Ha, Thanh Nien News

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Eleven passengers, including children, were injured when their bus crossed into the path of a train in Bac Giang Province on Wednesday, again raising concern about safety at unguarded railway crossings nation-wide.
The National Traffic Safety Committee reported that the collision occurred at 8:10 a.m. The powerful impact sent the bus into a paddy field next to the tracks and a child flying through a window.
Police said the train had sounded its horn but the bus, which is owned by a transport company in the neighboring province of Lang Son, was allegedly speeding and failed to stop.
The railway safety mechanisms at this crossing are almost non-existent - neither lights, bells nor gates.
Some witnesses living near the cross said they had tried to warn the bus driver of the coming train by waving arms, but in vain.
The injured passengers, ranging from 5 to 55 years old and including the bus driver Hoang Manh Hien, were sent to Bac Giang General Hospital.
But the 5-year-old boy who fell out of the bus and four other more serious cases were rushed to Viet-Duc Hospital in Hanoi.
The train also derailed and were not put back on the track until the afternoon.
Vice minister of transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong has visited the site to investigate the cause of the accident.
The lack of railway safety mechanisms at crossings has caused many similar accidents, some deadly, across the country for the past years.
In one such collisions, two police officers were killed when a train hit their car in Quang Tri Province in May.

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