Man loses cousin, brother in successive accidents; another loses his wife

By Gia Chinh, Giang Chinh   July 23, 2019 | 06:12 am PT
Man loses cousin, brother in successive accidents; another loses his wife
A truck that flipped and crushed five people to death on the National Highway 5 in Hai Duong Province in the early morning of July 23, 2019, is lifted from the ground for initial investigation. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Chinh.
Grief and pain were compounded as survivors recounted the tragedy of losing loved ones in three accidents in Hai Duong Province Tuesday morning.

"I only saw a glimpse of a truck coming at me and then I blacked out. When I came to, I was in the hospital," said Luong Van May.

May, a native of the northern highlands province of Son La, and his wife, 34-year-old Hoang Thi Em, had come to Hai Duong Province on Monday to work in a leather shoe factory.

On Tuesday morning, he was taking his wife on a motorbike to the factory.

"I, my wife and about 10 others... there were four motorbikes... we were waiting at an intersection to cross the street. We saw an accident had happened a little ahead of where we stood, but we didn’t intend to go there because we were afraid we would be late for work," he said.

None of the people waiting at the intersection had an inkling that another accident was just waiting to happen.

May’s pain from his injuries, including a dislocation of his hand, was nothing compared to the grief of losing his wife in the accident. He was initially taken to the Hai Duong General Hospital, but was transferred to the Viet Duc Hospital in Hanoi, around two hours away, for further treatment. The body of Em, May’s wife, has been returned to the family.

Luong Van May, whose wife Hoang Thi Em was killed in the accident in Hai Duong Province, at the Hai Duong General Hospital July 23, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh

Luong Van May, whose wife Hoang Thi Em was killed by a flipping truck in Hai Duong Province Tuesday morning, receives treatment for injuries at the Hai Duong General Hospital, July 23, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh.

Dao Cong Thuc, 56, of Cong Hoa Commune in Kim Thanh District, where the accidents occurred, lost his cousin in one accident, and his brother in the next.

Locals told Thuc early in the morning that his cousin Dao Quang Huan, 61, had been killed in a traffic accident near the National Highway 5. Huan was the first of seven lives claimed by the three accidents that took place in the space of two hours on a kilometer long stretch of National Highway 5 in Kim Thanh District.

Huan died after being hit by a 16-seater van when he was crossing the road on foot at around 4.10 a.m.

Thuc’s brother, Dao Quang Tuan, went to Huan’s house upon hearing the news of his death to discuss what to do next. At around 6 a.m., while he was on his way back home, waiting to cross the street at the intersection, the truck that killed May’s wife also killed him, along with three others.   

"Several people had gathered on the side of the street to watch the police inspecting the scene [of the previous accident], while another group was waiting to cross the street. The truck swerved to avoid a motorbike and the pickup truck at the scene of the accident, rammed the street divider and turned on it sides, crushing people waiting at the intersection," Thuc said.

Initial investigation shows that the driver of the truck in the third accident that killed five people did not test positive for any addictive substance. The driver, whose identity has not been revealed, said the accident happened because the truck’s brakes malfunctioned.

The truck, which was carrying water bottles, was on its way from Hanoi to the northern city of Hai Phong.

The second of the three accidents happened at around 5:30 a.m., killing a driver when two trucks collided head-on about a kilometer away.

The three accidents caused a traffic jam that lasted until noon on a 10-kilometer section of the highway.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The has ordered the road and traffic signs near the accident site inspected.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has ordered the police to pay special attention to testing all the drivers involved in the accidents for drugs and alcohol.

At least 21 people have been killed this year in accidents on the National Highway 5 section that runs through Kim Thanh District. In January, eight people walking along the highway were mowed down by a truck, whose driver took meth several days earlier.

Road crashes are a leading cause of deaths in Vietnam, killing almost one person every hour. A total of more than 18,720 traffic accidents occurred in 2018, killing 8,244 people and injuring nearly 14,800, according to the National Traffic Safety Committee.

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