Tuesday, December 7

Two tourists killed, 24 others injured in tour bus accident


WOUNDED: Some of the tourists being given treatment at the scene of the accident. — Bernama photo

KUALA LUMPUR: Two Indian tourists were killed while 24 others were injured when a tour bus carrying 24 Indian nationals overturned at Km 4.5 of the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Highway, near here yesterday.

The bus was on its way back from Genting Highlands when it went out of control and skidded while negotiating a sharp downhill bend at about 8am, Bentong OCPD Supt Mohd Yusri Hassan Basri told reporters at the scene yesterday.

DAMAGED: Fire and Rescue team inspects the wrecked bus. — Bernama photo

“The bus hit the road divider and overturned,” he said.

The victims -–Rajindra Kumar Agarwal, 67, a man, and Anita Aggarwal, 59, a woman – died on the spot.

Those injured were brought to Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) and Selayang Hospital.

Mohd Yusri said the bus driver and attendant, who have been admitted to the HKL, would be detained to have their statements recorded.

“We are looking into whether the incident was due to brake system failure or speeding. We have sent the vehicle to Puspakom for inspection,” he said, adding that the tour bus company’s permit and documents were in order.

The tourists, who are from Punjab and Jaipur, arrived in Malaysia on Wednesday.

They are scheduled to leave for Singapore today.

Mohd Yusri added that the passengers sustained body and head injuries. Many of them had tried to get out of the bus through the windows.

Genting fire and rescue operations chief V. Raganathan said rescue personnel managed to bring all the passengers out of the bus at 9.20am.

Some 50 personnel from the Bentong, Selayang, Kuala Kubu Baharu, Genting Highlands and Wangsa Maju fire stations were involved in the operation.

One of the victims, Sharma Kamalesh, 48, said the bus was travelling downhill “quite fast” and that she and other passengers had tried to talk to the driver about it but were ignored.

“I believe it was brake system failure which caused the bus to go out of control…in a split second the bus skidded, we were all screaming,” she said when met at HKL.

Her husband, Ajithlal, 56, was also injured in the incident and was treated at the Selayang Hospital. Sharma, who injured her eyes, said they were supposed to leave for Singapore yesterday.

HKL’s head of department of emergency and trauma Prof Datuk Sri Abu Hassan Asaari Abdullah said of the 15 victims who are being treated at the hospital, four are in critical conditions.

Three others are in semi-critical condition, including a two-year-old girl and her mother.

Nine of the victims have been admitted to Selayang Hospital.

Meanwhile, Resorts World Genting conveyed its condolences to the families of those killed in the accident.

In a statement, the company said its staff were at the hospitals to offer assistance to the victims.

The bus, operated by Star Mart Express, was chartered by TLM Malaysia Convention Sdn Bhd. — Bernama