KOTA KINABALU: Another tourist from Brunei, the seventh, has died following the horrific bus crash at Km 8.9, Tamparuli-Ranau road on Tuesday.Haji Awang Tarsad Hj. Damit, 58, who was the leader of the tour group from Brunei and was among six people who were seriously injured, passed away at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH 2) around 12.15am yesterday.
Six other tourists from Brunei, including four women, had died soon after the accident that saw the bus splitting into two after smashing into a tree.
The four women who died were identified as Pg. Hjh. Zaharah Pg. Hj. Zainal, 61, Hjh. Dayang Norhayati Hj. Abd. Hadi, 61, Hjh. Noor Faridah Hj. Tusin, 62, and Hjh. Hasnah Hj. Yusof, 62.
The two male deaths were identified as Hj. Abdul Manan Hj. Ishak, 50, and Hj. Abdul Ghani Muhamad, 66.
Meanwhile, at a press conference at Sabah Police Headquarters in Kepayan yesterday, Deputy Commissioner of Police SAC Datuk Tan Kok Liang confirmed that 33 people were travelling in the bus when the accident occurred at about 3pm.
“Thirty-two people, including the bus driver, are Bruneians while the bus co-driver is an Indian national working for a Brunei transport company,” he told reporters yesterday.
According to Tan, initial police investigation shows that the driver had lost control of the bus while going on a downhill slope heading towards Kota Kinabalu from Ranau when it hit a van and slammed into a large tree.
“Initial investigation also believed that the brake of the bus failed while going downhill causing the driver to lose control of the bus.
“However, a thorough investigation will be carried out including reports from Puspakom to determine if the brake was in good working order or not when the incident happened,” he said.
Tan added that investigation at the scene also found tyre marks on the road indicating that the driver had lost control of the 44-seater bus.
“Before the bus hit the tree, it rammed into a van that was coming from the opposite direction,” he said.
Tan said the bus driver is still receiving treatment in hospital and police would record his statement once he has recovered.
Police have also recorded statements from all the survivors before they were flown back to Brunei yesterday.