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A double decker bus from Bangkok with about 30 European tourists caught fire while on the way to Surat Thani, but nobody was injured.
The bus which took the tourists from Khao Sarn road in Bangkok to the ferry pier in Surat Thani was entirely engulfed in flames and damaged in an hour fire before the first fire truck would arrive.
All the suitcases and belongings of the tourists which were kept inside the rear cargo space were also damaged.
According to the bus driver Pongoan Daengmuang, 40, of Choke Malidaeng tour bus, he left Bangkok at 7.30 pm on Wednesday night with 34 tourists mostly from Europe, to the ferry pier to Samui island.
But as the bus arrived at Sawee district, electronic system of the bus had trouble, causing the hydraulic system of the power brake to fail.
The braking system was overheating, forcing him to drive the bus to park on the shoulder of the highway.
He said he also noticed smoke coming out from the rear tyres, and he immediately awoke the sleeping tourists to leave the bus.
But as the normal front exit was locked due to the failed electronic system, he told all passengers to leave by the emergency exit.
He also said he tried to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher but couldn’t make it as the fire raged beyond control.
He ranged the police for help.
The police then called the nearest firefighting station at Kron local administration office for help but was told that there was no driver.
The police later sought help from Napho local administration office which is 10 kilometres away.
But before the first fire truck would arrive an hour later, the entire bus along with luggage of the tourists were all burnt out in flames under the eyes of disappointed and unsatisfied tourists of the late arrival.
Many tourists were seen taking pictures of the fire raging bus with their mobile phones, and some even shouting with dissatisfaction of the local administration office’s unpreparedness to deal with fire.