Teenage backpacker died in Vietnam after collision with truck

The Lam Dong Province in Vietnam.
The Lam Dong Province in Vietnam.

A Wearside teenager died after he was knocked down by a lorry as he crossed a busy road while travelling in Vietnam.

Thomas Andiyapan, from Usworth in Washington, was struck just hours after he arrived in the Da Huoai district of the Lam Dong Province.

Sunderland's Coroner's Court.

Sunderland's Coroner's Court.

An inquest, held at Sunderland Coroner’s Court, heard the 19-year-old was involved in a collision on June 15 last year.

Reports put together by the Department of Foreign Affairs in Ho Chi Minh City explained the driver, who was accompanied by an assistant, tried to avoid Thomas, who was also seen to move in an attempt to get out of the path of the vehicle.

Karin Welsh, senior coroner for Sunderland, read from the document, which said: “As Thomas crossed the road, the driver realised that Thomas has been running across the road and has attempted to change his driving direction, in affect to steer to the left of Thomas.

“However, it appears Thomas has realised there might be a problem and stepped the other way and unfortunately he has collided with the vehicle.”

It appears Thomas has realised there might be a problem and stepped the other way and unfortunately he has collided with the vehicle.

Karin Welsh

The report detailed how the driver had crossed the hatchings in the centre of the straight four-lane route - two in each direction - as he tried to miss Thomas.

The papers went on to state the driver had been sentenced to six months in prison for breaching a traffic regulation, although the exact nature of the offence was not made clear at the hearing.

The inquest was told locals took a stricken Thomas on the back of a motorbike to a nearby clinic before he was then transferred to hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, where he died in June 22.

A post mortem examination carried out back in Britain found he died due to a head injury because of the collision, with pneumonia and a bone marrow embolus also noted by the pathologist.

Ms Welsh had explained to the hearing that it had been struggle to access information about the collision and its aftermath from the authorities over in Vietnam.

She praised his loved ones for their help and support in pushing for details which helped her office put together information needed so an inquest could be held.

Recording a conclusion of accidental death, Ms Welsh told his family: “It’s not easy to listen to and I think it is more difficult because we had to glean information, but you were very obliging and some of that information came from yourselves.”

She offered her condolences and added that she hoped the conclusion of the hearing would give them some comfort.