13 August, 2007

20 killed in Malaysia bus accident !

Twenty people were killed and several critically injured when a passenger bus in Perak overturned early today- Malaysiakini

SMASHED UP: The bus which just winched out of the ravine- NST

Rescuers checking out the roof of the bus. - NST Pix by Ikhwan Munir.

FATAL TRIP… Fire and Rescue personnel assisted by policemen loading up the 19 dead bodies onto a truck, in what is believed to be one of the country's worst traffic accidents. At press time, 19 people who were on board the northbound express bus are reported dead while 10 others are injured, three of them critically. A police spokesman said the ill-fated bus was travelling from Melaka to Butterworth when it skidded while descending a hill, and crashed into a railing on the left of the road before plunging into a five-metre deep drain. Pix: Dusa Abbas/Bernama

The illfated express bus being lifted from the ditch at 229km North-South highway near Bukit Gantang in Taiping - Starpic

Police personnel identifying the bodies from the bus accident at the scene - Starpic

At least 20 people died when an express bus overturned on Malaysia's main highway Monday, tearing off the vehicle's roof and flinging seats into the air in what officials said was the country's worst traffic disaster.

Nineteen people were killed at the site while one died in a nearby hospital in the northern town of Taiping, local fire department spokesman Amirudin Kamarudin told The Associated Press.

Nine other people on the bus were hospitalized with various injuries, including a young boy and a man who are in intensive care, said a hospital doctor who did not wish to be named because she was not authorized to speak to the media.

"The impact of the accident ripped off the roof," Raja Musa Raja Razak, the police chief of the area, told the AP by telephone from the site in Bukit Gantang, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur.

"The front portion (of the bus) is mangled. The rest of the body is intact. But the seats (must have been) flying here and there, and there was a lot of blood everywhere," he said.

The driver was among the dead, Raja Musa said. Previous police and news reports erroneously said the driver was injured.

The nine injured included two Vietnamese and one Nepali who worked in northern Malaysia, Raja Musa said.

National news agency Bernama said two Indonesians were among those killed, but Raja Musa said only one Indonesian had been identified.

"It is the worst traffic accident in the (modern) history of the nation," said Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy who visited the scene.

Chan's aide quoted him as saying the accident appears to have been caused by "human negligence." The aide declined to be named because he is not authorized to make public statements.

The cause of the accident was not immediately apparent, although Amirudin, the fire department spokesman, said there were no skid marks on the road, indicating the driver may have fallen asleep at the wheel.

The accident occurred before dawn on the North-South Expressway, which runs 880 kilometers (550 miles), the entire length of the country from the Thai border in the north to Johor Bahru at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula.

Bernama said the private transport company bus was going downhill when it hit a protective barrier on the side and careened 20 meters (yards) off the road before flipping over and falling into a 5-meter (20-feet) -deep ditch.

Raja Musa said the weather was fine and that the downhill slope was not steep.

Many passengers were flung out of the bus through the gaping roof and others were pinned inside when the sides of the vehicle crushed on impact, Bernama said, citing police.

Some of the bodies could only be extricated after a crane pulled the bus upright, the agency said.

While Malaysia's notoriously bad motorists are often involved in accidents, bus crashes are relatively rare and such serious ones with mass casualties even more infrequent.

Malaysia has a high-quality highway system with a speed limit of 110 kilometers (70 miles) per hour. But speeding is common, and many do not follow safety procedures; tailgating occurs frequently, as does failure to signal before changing lanes.

According to Bernama, the driver of the bus, Rohizan Abu Bakar, 38, was among the dead. He was from Taman Seri Petaling in Kulim, Kedah. Also killed was an Indonesian national, H. Abu Bakar, who was from Medan, Sumatra.

Besides the bus driver and the Indonesian national, the dead passengers identified are T. Krishnan, 46, of Taman Haji Muslim in Kuala Ketil, Kedah; Fadliz Ahmad, 22, of Jalan Penaga, Taman Maju in Jasin, Melaka; Josli Arshad, 22, of Jalan Dang Merdu in Jembatan Duyong, Melaka;

Nazri Noordin, 35, of Desa Baiduri in Bandar Baru Ayer Itam, Penang; Pang Tee Min, 58, of Jalan Ong Kim Wee, Melaka; Mohd Yazid Md Yusoh, 23, of Jalan Koklam Air Utama of Phase 4, Taman Maju in Jasin, Melaka;

Md Basri of Kampung Pulai Darat in Merlimau, Melaka; and Kamis Said, 62, of Batu 22 1/2 Pasir Gembor, Tanjung Bidara in Masjid Tanah, Melaka.

The co-driver of the bus, P. Veeraman, 36, of Taman Sri Merbau in Sepang, Selangor, was critically injured and is in the ICU of Taiping Hospital.

The two Vietnamese nationals have also been sent to Taiping Hospital. They have been identified as Quang Ngoi Hung and Ngu Yeh Hui Vinh, 27.

Also admitted to the hospital are Mohd Fauzi Hassan, 27; Shahril Afendi, 22; Zurina Rashid, 23; Mohd Zahidi Che Ahmad, 22; and Siew Ken Meng (male), 21.

The Nepali, Chatrapati Eyam, 24, was the only passenger who was slightly injured and was allowed to leave the hospital after outpatient treatment.



Blogger J.T. said...

Oh my goodness... when I read about it this morning in Yahoo Malaysia, there were no pictures.
It did not cross my mind to go search for the story in the mainstream newspapers.

Now I can see the seriousness of the accident. That is a bad one. May the souls of the departed rest in peace.

August 13, 2007 9:11 PM  

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