IPOH: The sombre atmosphere at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital mortuary was pierced by the wails of grieving family members who arrived from Bangkok to claim the remains of loved ones who had died in Monday’s bus crash.
While it had been a long and difficult journey for the families, it was even tougher for them to see their kin in the coffins.
Minmita Thanasaktheenakum, 29, knelt on the ground and cried as soon as she saw her parents’ coffins.
She wailed and hugged the coffins as solemn Thai Embassy officials looked on.
Another man, believed to be Piyanun Klungchuang’s fiance, was inconsolable as he sat beside her coffin and wept.
Thai Embassy officials arrived at the mortuary as early as 8am yesterday to make arrangements for the bodies of the deceased to be taken back to Bangkok.
A small group of grim-looking family members arrived at the mortuary some 90 minutes later.
They watched as mortuary staff and army personnel from the Syed Putra Camp, from Tambun here, took some three hours to line up the coffins in two neat rows outside the mortuary.
The coffins were wrapped in white cloth and plastic sheets, and labelled with the names of the deceased.
Led by monks from the Wat Siribunya Maggarama temple here, the family members and embassy officials then chanted prayers for the deceased.
The families later placed yellow chrysanthemums on each casket.
At 12.15pm, a 25-tonne trailer and a separate van carrying all 25 coffins left the mortuary for the RMAF base in Subang.
Escorting them were two police outriders and two police multi-purpose vehicles.
At about 5pm, two Royal Thai Air Force C130 aircraft left here for the Donmuang Airport’s military terminal in Bangkok with the remains of the 25 Thais.
On board were 28 family members and Pramualarat Phimpahu, 45, who was hurt in the accident.
Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie was present to pay her last respects to the deceased. - theStar