Mother, 23, and daughter, 26, among those burned alive in Thai bus fire horror as police charge driver

Grieving relatives of a six-year-old girl and her mother burned alive in a horror bus fire in Thailand visited the scene of the tragedy this morning (April 15). The family of Prangthong Kalom, 23, and her six-year-old daughter Pawarat Kalom laid flowers and said prayers alongside a Buddhist monk at the spot where the double-decker coach erupted in flames in the early hours of the morning in Khon Kaen province. Tragically, the mother had been taking her excited only child Pawarat to visit relatives to celebrate her birthday the next day. The pair – who were sitting at the back of the bus – were among five trapped on the top floor of the vehicle when a rear wheel erupted in flames which spread to the engine and quickly engulfed the whole bus. Twelve passengers suffered severe burns but are recovering in hospital while 16 people including the driver and conductor escaped from the inferno. Pawarat’s father Thanadon Boonpramuanya said: ‘My daughter and her mother suffered terrible pain and fear when they died. I am so sorry she went through that and there was nothing I could do. ‘I have brought a picture of her with me today and her favourite milk. The monk is also here and we have all said prayers for her soul. We are praying that she is not suffering and her soul can find its way home.’ Parawat’s grandfather and the mother of Prangthong added: ‘We had already organised a birthday party for my granddaughter. We are heartbroken to lose them both.’ The coach was travelling from Udon Thani in the northeast to the capital Bangkok when a wheel exploded and burst into flames shortly after midnight. Flames spread to the engine compartment then engulfed the bus in the middle of a motorway in Khon Kaen province. Police said the driver pulled over and opened the door for passenger to flee. However, two children and three adults who were on the top floor could not escape the vehicle were incinerated following a series of explosions. Fire crews arrived and took around 30 minutes to extinguish the inferno. Police questioned the driver, Patsadee Khamon, 48 on suspicion of ‘driving until causing injury and death to others’. He was later charged with reckless driving causing deaths and injuries. Major General Putthipong Musikul, Deputy Chief of Police in Khon Kaen Province, said: ‘The driver also suffered injuries from the fire but we will pursue the legal case against him and continue to collect evidence. ‘The families of the deceased are entitled to compensation from the bus company and we will assist them. We are interviewing everybody who was on the bus and forensic engineers are examining the wreckage.’