Nineteen Chinese tourists injured in Phuket bus crash

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Nine Chinese tourists were injured as a  runaway tour bus carrying about 30 Chinese tourists crashed into a power pole and house fence at the base of Patong Hill.

The incident at about 9 pm last night blacked out electricity in the Patong beach area for hours before it could be restored.

At least 19 tourists were rushed to hospital for treatment of injuries by four ambulances, 10 were slightly injured.

The bus was taking the tourists back to their hotel in Patong and was running downhill when the accident happened. They were returning from a tour of the Similan Islands and had boarded the bus in Phang Nga, according to Thephuketnews.

It lost control at a curve and slammed  into a power pole in the side road beside Patong temple. The concrete power pole was broken into two by the force of the impact.

All the streetlights along the northern side of Phra Baramee road were blacked out all the way to the Caltex petrol station in Kathu district.

Police said the bus was operated by Phuket Smile Tour.

Bus driver Somphon Plotchaikwang, 41, was  taken to hospital by rescue workers but he was later confirmed dead on arrival.