Four NGO workers died and eleven others were injured on Friday when their minibus swerved on to the side of the road and hit a tree in Takeo province’s Tram Kak district.
The victims, all from the Save the Children charity, were on their way back to the capital from a mission in Kep province. The driver fled and remains at large.
Deputy district police chief Cheng Chantrea said his forces went to the scene soon after the accident and found three people dead. Twelve others were sent to hospital in the capital.
“Among the dead was an Australian woman and two Cambodians, one male and one female,” he said. “The cause of the accident was that the driver was careless.”
“He was probably falling asleep and was driving too fast. He braked abruptly. The van swerved to the side of the road hitting a mango tree in the van’s mid-section,” he added.
Provincial police reported that one of the twelve sent to hospital was pronounced dead on arrival, bringing the death toll to four.
Officials confirmed that the rest were being treated at Royal Phnom Penh Hospital.
A provincial police report identified three of the four deceased as Cambodians Suk Ram, 39, Ko Lina, 30, and an Australian woman identified as Laura Knight, 35.
The minivan was reportedly rented from a private company. The driver worked for the company, which could lead the police to him.
A representative of Save the Children could not be reached for comment.
However, it issued a statement on Saturday confirming that four of its staff members died in the accident and another four were in intensive care.
The others were discharged after treatment.
Save the Children offered condolences to the families of the victims and whatever support possible. It wished to respect the privacy of the victims.
A provincial police officer who declined to be named said the driver was being sought.
“Up to now, we have not found the driver for questioning and the police are working hard on that,” he said.
Save the Children in Cambodia supports more than three million children through programs from education, child rights to health and nutrition. It targets the most impoverished and vulnerable children.