|Thai holidaymakers die after bus hit divider and overturned|
IPOH: Twenty-seven people were killed when their bus hit a divider and overturned on its way down from Cameron Highlands in what is possibly the worst road accident in Malaysian history.
The tragedy at KM15 of the Cameron Highland-Simpang Pulai road claimed the lives of 25 Thai nationals who had been on a holiday in the hill resort.
Perak deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Zakaria Yusof said the other two casualties were driver Omar Shahidan, 48, and tour guide Soontorn Kian, 38. Both were Malaysians.
“There were a total of 37 people onboard at the time, 34 were Thai holidaymakers from Bangkok and three others Malaysians,” he said.
The double-decker bus was heading from Cameron Highlands towards Kuala Lumpur at 11.40am yesterday.
“The driver was trying to negotiate a sharp bend but failed, causing the bus to hit a divider before overturning.
“The bus landed on its roof in a ditch about 51m away from the divider,” SAC Zakaria said.
He said the impact of the crash was so severe that bodies were flung several metres away from the wreckage while others were trapped deep in the mangled vehicle.
Twenty-two of the victims were killed on the spot. Five others died after being rushed to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital here.
SAC Zakaria said the cause of the accident could have been due to speeding or technical failure of the brakes.
It took about 100 personnel from the police, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department and Public Works Department over three hours to retrieve the bodies.
The wreckage was finally towed downhill at about 4pm, causing massive jams on both sides of the road as far as 5km away.
It is learnt that of the 10 survivors, one was discharged after being treated for minor injuries; three were undergoing surgery and the rest warded as at 7pm.
SAC Zakaria said the bus was heading to Kuala Lumpur where the Thais were believed to have been scheduled to fly back to Bangkok.
The Cameron Highland-Simpang Pulai Road, which has many curves and gradients, was opened to traffic in 2003.
It is an alternative road to the highlands besides the Tapah route. - the Star