Thursday, August 29, 2013

Bus in deadly Genting crash reportedly overloaded

Taken this from

KUALA LUMPUR: A bus that plunged into a ravine, killing 37 in Malaysia's worst-ever road accident, was overloaded according to reports on Thursday.

Authorities said the express bus was carrying 53 people when it veered off a busy and treacherous mountain road on Wednesday, tumbling into a deep gully and scattering dead and injured on the mountainside.

Housing and Urban Wellbeing Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan was quoted as saying the vehicle's capacity was 44. 

"You do the math," Rahman told reporters when asked if the bus was overloaded.

Officials on Thursday confirmed foreigners were among the 37 people killed.

The dead included 14 Malaysians, a Korean, one Nepalese, and a Bangladeshi-born Canadian passport-holder, said health ministry official Jeya Indran Sinnadurai.

The rest were yet to be identified, he told reporters. Sixteen survivors are in hospital, including Malaysian, Indonesian, Bangladeshi and Thai nationals.

Jeya said the survivors were expected to pull through.

The bus plied an express line bringing visitors to the Genting Highlands resort, a mountaintop gambling and entertainment park about an hour's drive from the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Leading daily The Star said the vehicle had previously been "blacklisted" by authorities, but it did not say why and AFP could not verify the claim.

Survivors said the bus's brakes appeared to fail before it swerved off the road and down a steep 70-metre (230-foot) hillside.

"It kept picking up speed and everyone was screaming in fear... There was a lorry in front and the bus driver had to swerve to avoid it and lost control," passenger Suriardi Budiarto was quoted saying by the Star. 

He survived because he was flung clear of the bus. Rescue personnel have resumed search for more possible victims on Thursday morning.

Bentong Police deputy chief DSP Wan Azhar Ruddin Wan Ismail said the search was resumed at 9.45am after several people reported they were unable to contact relatives suspected to have been on the ill-fated bus. 

"The search has been resumed for more possible victims besides looking for valuables of the victims which can be used to identify them. 

"It will continue until we are satisfied and before we move on to determine how to haul up the wreckage of the bus," he told reporters at the scene. 

The tragedy is certain to bring new scrutiny to the issue of safety on the route leading to the resort, which is popular with both Malaysians and foreigners. 

"That road is very dangerous, with too many curves. They should make it smoother. Even without touching the accelerator you can end up crashing," Ong Cheng Hoe, 54, told AFP. 

Ong's brother-in-law Lim Kok Hoe, 43, was the bus driver. He was among those killed.

In ordering an investigation of the crash, Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin called for greater attention to safety on the Genting route.

"The Genting Highlands road is a very important route used by many tourists on a daily basis, thus the enforcement of all relevant laws must be given priority to ensure it remains safe," The Star quoted him saying. 

The resort's casino and a theme park draw about 20 million visitors per year. It is undergoing a major refurbishment, aimed at bringing in still more visitors, which will see a Twentieth Century Fox theme park open in 2016. 

The resort is operated by Resorts World Genting, which is owned by Genting Malaysia, one of the country's largest companies. 

Resorts World Genting expressed "sadness" over the accident, but stressed in a statement that it does not operate the bus line. 

The Genting Highlands road is notoriously steep and winding and has seen several accidents in recent years, some fatal. 

Two Indian tourists died and 22 other people were hurt when their bus overturned in the area last year. Seventeen people died in 1996 when a bus veered off the steep road.


OMG!! Hopefully, they will do something to ensure safety on the Genting Highlands road. I like going to Genting! It does look/feel kinda dangerous driving up and down that steep hill.

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