Wednesday, December 21, 2011

6 from Brunei killed in bus crash

Bus crashed
Injured passengers of the bus that crashed near Kampung Kaporingan, Tamparuli, Sabah, sitting on the ground while waiting to be taken to hospital. Pic by Johary Indan
TAMPARULI: A HOLIDAY trip turned tragic when six elderly Brunei nationals died and 27 others, including children, were injured after a tour bus they were in crashed into a tree in Tamparuli yesterday.
The bus was travelling from Semporna towards here with 33 people onboard, including the driver and co-driver, when the driver lost control of the vehicle at a curve on a downhill stretch at Km8.9 of the Ranau-Tamparuli road near Kampung Kaporingan at 3pm.
Police said the bus skidded, grazed an oncoming tour van before coming to a halt and landing on its side. The bus roof was partially ripped off on impact.
Two of the passengers died at the scene while the others succumbed to injuries at the Tuaran district hospital.
Three of the victims were identified as Abdul Manan Ishak, 60, Dayang Norhayati Abd Hadi, 61, and Pengiran Zahamah Zainal, 61, while two others were only identified as Farida and Sapawi.
The identity of the sixth victim, a woman, remains unknown.
Deputy state police commissioner Datuk Tan Kok Liang said the injured, including six listed as in critical condition, were later transferred to Queen Elizabeth Hospital .
He said the driver and his assistant worked with a tour company in Brunei and the bus carrying the tourists was on its way back to Kota Kinabalu from Tawau.
"Based on investigations, the driver lost control of the vehicle. We are checking to see if the brakes had failed," he said at the hospital.
Present was Brunei Consul General Daud Tahir.
One of the survivors, Tamin Baha, 69, said everything happened fast and all he could recall was hearing his wife, Sabahriah Zaman, 60, screaming Allahuakbar (God is great) as the bus rolled on the road.
"The bus went off at a curved downhill stretch. It also grazed a van as it rolled on the road. The two who died at the scene were thrown out of the bus when it crashed into a tree," Tamin said, adding that most of them crawled out of the wreckage to lie on the ground and wait for help.
Tamin said before the accident, the group had stopped for a rest at Pekan Nabalu, about 20km away.
Another survivor, Samsul Salleh, 28, said he was seated in the back row, chatting with his sisters when the bus went out of control.
"Everyone started screaming and I felt the bus spinning. I was thrown off my seat. I tried to look for the exit but we were trapped inside."
He said passers-by stopped and smashed open the back window.
Samsul said he pulled his two injured sisters out to safety.
Firemen from Tuaran were dispatched to the scene together with policemen and medical officers.
The Brunei passengers arrived here on Friday and travelled to Semporna on Monday.
They were to spend the night here yesterday before returning to Brunei today.
Tuaran police chief Deputy Superintendent Zaharudin Rasip said police were interviewing survivors. - NST

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