The nation mourns today for the 37 confirmed casualties (16 injured) resulting from a bus crash at KM3.5 Jalan Genting, near Genting Highlands.
It is the worst tragedy in the nation’s land public transport history.
The tragedy occurred at 2.45 p.m when a bus coach travelling from Genting Highlands towards Kuala Lumpur with full load transporting 53 passengers, was negotiating downhill, hitting a divider wall at a sharp corner, rolling sideways several times and plunged 60 metres before stopping at the trees.
Fire and Rescue Department principal assistant director (operations) Datuk Soiman Jahid said the cause of the accident was probably due to the driver losing control of the bus coach while maneuvering the steep descent.
“It could have been that the bus was out of control for about 100 meters. As at this moment, our initial assessment would be the bus could have skidded and plunged into the ravine. But we don't know exactly what happened,” said Soiman, adding that the driver was among the death toll.
From a Bernama report, Pahang police chief Datuk Sharifuddin Ab Ghani said the bus had first hit the side of the hill before careening off the road.
"According to information from Central Pahang Omnibus Bhd (the operator of the bus), the yellow bus with registration WGA 4136 was to carry 48 passengers as this number of tickets were sold.
"However, it was carrying more than this number of passengers," he said.
The investigation of the accident to ascertain the cause would take ages to complete but a survivor told Bernama that she felt the bus was an old dilapidated coach with bald tyres.
Nur Syamimi Ja’afar, 25, one of the 16 survivors, conveyed this to her boyfriend, Zaid Ismail, 25, who visited her at Selayang Hospital tonight.
Zaid told Bernama that Syamimi had a bad feeling after boarding the bus after seeing its poor physical condition.
"After the bus plunged into the ravine, Nur Syamimi said she went to look for her 21-year-old sister Nur Fathiah, who was thrown out several metres from their seats," said Zaid.
However, the number of fatalities could increase by looking at rescuers initial findings that a number of passengers were flung far away as the bus coach was rolling down the steep slope.
The ill-fated Genting yellow bus service is popular among the resort workers to commute daily from the city and it departs from the Pekeliling bus station in central KL.
The search and rescue operation was called off at 10.15 pm and as at half an hour ago, rescuers told CBT that the victims and survivors consist of tourists and highland resort workers.
It is learned that the passengers are locals with several foreign nationals on board including from Bangladesh, China, Indonesia and Thailand.