Molasses suspected to have caused head-on bus crash in Vietnam

TN News

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A part of the National Highway 1A where two buses crashed head-on early Friday on what is suspected to be molasses

Police in the central province of Khanh Hoa have sent samples of a substance taken from a national highway to test for molasses following a deadly bus crash Friday which killed 12 people and injured more than 50.

Dau Quang Tuyen, deputy police chief of Cam Ranh town, said the samples were sent to the Institute of Forensic Sciences in Hanoi.

The substance was five centimeters deep on the road and stretched 100 meters on half of the road on the night of accident, and is the prime suspect in causing two buses to collide head-on on National Highway 1A.

Eleven including both drivers died immediately, and one more died at hospital Sunday morning from severe internal injuries.

There is suspicion that a bus from Quang Ngai, which was initially accused of speeding and encroaching on the wrong lane, had skidded on it, Tuoi Tre newspaper quoted Tuyen as saying.

Locals said they saw several vehicles skidding before the accident occurred at 0:40 a.m.

"A southbound passenger bus skidded slightly and swerved into the left side of the road," Nguyen Hoi, 55, said.

"A few minutes later a tanker skidded and brushed against a container truck coming from the opposite direction.

"Soon after that was the horrific accident."

Nguyen Thi Phuong Lan, a local woman, remembered seeing a refrigerated truck "driving like drunk."

Nguyen Anh Dung, 47, who helped with the rescue, said many rescuers slipped while carrying victims to ambulances. "Many motorbikes [skidded and] fell."

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Truong Cong Tien, director of the Cam Ranh Sugar Factory, told Tuoi Tre that molasses is viscous and slippery.

His company sells all its waste to a local branch of the north-based Song Lam Fertilizer Company, and anything dropped on the road was the latter's responsibility.

The police said without the molasses factor there would be no case since both drivers had died.

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