ALOR SETAR: Five silat masters were killed when the van they were travelling in skidded and rammed a tree in Jalan Titi Haji Idris, Pendang, at about 3.30am yesterday.
Jumaat alias Saad Mat Akir, 62, of Jitra, Juhari Darus, 65, of Kodiang, and Ahmad Ismail, 65, of Langgar, died on the spot, while Sudin Deris, 65, of Langgar and Ishak Awang Kechik alias Hanafiah, 78, of Pokok Sena, died at Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital.
Four others were injured, one of them badly.
They are Che Ishak Hussin, 54, Mohd Idris Senafi, 20, Roshidi Ahmad, 24, (the van driver and Ahmad’s son) and Arifin Mahazon, 56.
Kedah Persilatan and Pergendangan Association president Haris Fazilah Ismail said they were on the their way from Sungai Buloh, Selangor, after a silat performance.
He said Roshidi tried to avoid hitting an unidentified object on the road and lost control of the vehicle.
“The van skidded and rammed a tree by the roadside,” he told reporters at the hospital.
Mohd Idris, who broke a leg and was injured on the face, said they left Sungai Buloh at about 6pm yesterday and stopped at the Tapah rest and service area for supper at 11.20pm.
“As soon as we resumed our journey, I fell asleep, and I woke up in the hospital. I don’t know what happened,” he told reporters at the emergency ward.
Mohd Idris said he was informed about the accident by his family members and friends who came to visit him.
A member of the association, Harun Saad, 57, said he was driving a car with some other members of the group.
“We started the journey together but I stopped at the Gurun rest and service area to let someone else take the wheel.
“When we arrived at the accident scene, we saw the victims waving for help and stopped to offer assistance,” he said, admitting that he was not aware at first that the victims were his friends.
Pendang acting police chief ASP L Pubadi said the rescue squad took an hour to remove the victims from the van.
“The left side of the van was badly wrecked,” he said. — Bernama