Wednesday, August 21, 2013

37 dead, 16 injured in Malaysia’s worst accident

Thirty-seven people have been confirmed dead in Malaysia's worst road accident when a bus plunged into a 200-foot deep ravine as it made its way down from the Genting Highlands resort in Pahang this afternoon.

Rescuers gave the death toll as police dog units scoured the undergrowth in the ravine for any more survivors of the accident that happened just before 3pm, some four km from the popular hill resort. The driver, in his 40s, also died in the accident, police said.

The 16 passengers who were rescued, 10 men and six women, were sent to hospitals in Selayang, Kuala Lumpur, Sungai Buloh and Bentong. Some of them suffered severe injuries, said authorities.

There were a total of 53 people in the bus which came from the resort, 55km away from Kuala Lumpur. Initial reports had put the total number aboard the bus at 49.

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The ravine, which is inaccessible by road, has forced rescue workers to use a crane to lift the victims.

It was reported that the bus driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed through the road barrier before plunging into the ravine.

Authorities reported that passengers who were seated towards the front of the bus were flung out of the vehicle when it hit the trees.

Police are investigating to ascertain whether the bus was overloaded.

So far, authorities revealed that three of the 37 who died were foreigners from Bangladesh, China and Thailand.

The Sultan of Pahang, Sultan Ahmad Shah, Bentong MP Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and Minister of Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan visited the scene and were given a briefing by police.

Personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department, St Johns Ambulance, Civil Defence Department and the police were mobilised once the distress call was received at 2.46pm.

The Genting Highlands road has seen several fatal bus accidents but this is said to be the worst along that stretch and in the country.

Before today's crash, the worst accident in Malaysia over the past 10 years occurred near Cameron Highlands on December 20, 2010, when 28 people were killed after a double-decker bus overturned.

The accident occurred near the 15km milestone on the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai road.

It claimed 22 lives on the spot, while the other six died after being taken to hospital. All the passengers were Thai nationals on their way back to Kuala Lumpur from the hill resort, in the company of three Malaysians - the bus driver, his assistant and a tour guide. - August 21, 2013.

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