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4 Japanese tourists killed in Thailand van crash

BANGKOK, Thailand – Four Japanese tourists and their Thai guide were killed on Wednesday when their van collided with a truck in the kingdom's Ayutthaya province, police said.

All five van passengers died at the scene after flames engulfed their van following the crash, said provincial chief of tourist police Sarut Rayanon.

The accident took place Wednesday, November 8, afternoon on road in Bang Pa-in district, which borders the ancient temple city of Ayutthaya popular with tourists.

"The four Japanese tourists killed included two men and two women," the officer told AFP.

Despite its wealth compared to neighboring countries and relatively good infrastructure, Thailand has some of the most lethal roads in the world.

Around 24,000 people die each year in traffic accidents in the kingdom, according to data collected by the World Health Organization in a 2015 report.

Yet the frequent accidents have done little to dull Thailand's powerhouse tourism industry, a key driver of its otherwise flagging economy.

The kingdom is expecting more than 30 million visitors in 2017.

The worst road accident involving foreign tourists in recent years left 12 Malaysians dead when their bus crashed in northern Chiang Mai province in 2015. – Rappler.com