Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Genting Bus Tragedy: SAR Operation Ends, 37 Dead - Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 21 (Bernama) -- Today's Genting Highlands bus tragedy, the worst bus disaster in the country, left 37 people dead and 16 others injured, some critically.

The bus, an express bus servicing the Kuala Lumpur-Genting Highlands route, with 53 people on board went out of control at around 2.45pm and plunged into a 60-metre deep ravine 3.5 kilometres from the summit of the popular hill resort.

Of the injured, eight have been admitted to the Selayang Hospital, Kuala Lumpur Hospital (five), Sungai Buloh Hospital (two) and Bentong Hospital (one).

The search and rescue (SAR) operation was called off at 9.30pm tonight and this was announced by Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan.

"The SAR operation has ended and the report we received was that 37 people were killed, 25 men and 12 women," he said.

Health deputy director-general Datuk Dr S. Jeyaindran said five pathologists and eight medical officers from HKL's Forensics Unit were making preparations to undertake the task with the help of support staff.

Some 450 search and rescue (SAR) personnel among others from the Fire and Rescue Department, the Police and the Civil Defence Department besides a K9 (dog) unit also from the Fire and Rescue Department were involved in the SAR operation.

Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang, Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and Bentong MP Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai were also at the disaster location to witness the SAR operation.

Traffic was backed up nearly four kilometres on both sides of the Karak Highway at the location of the disaster.

Although the actual cause of the accident has not been established, one of the injured victims, Ali Haider Shyed Haider, 46, who has been admitted to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital, said he believed the bus experienced brake failure before it plunged into the ravine.

Fire and Rescue Department principal assistant director (Operations) Datuk Soiman Jahid said the cause of the accident had yet to be determined and that they had yet to interview witnesses.

"But the descent was very steep and if the bus was not controlled well it could have skidded and plunged into the ravine. This is the initial assessment of the rescue team," he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on his Twitter account offered condolences to the families of victims who were killed in the tragedy.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, meanwhile, called for the setting up of a taskforce to probe the accident.

In July 1966, 17 people, including six children, were killed when the bus they were travelling in fell 100 metres into a ravine after a family day celebration in Genting Highlands.

Genting Highlands is a popular holiday destination for local and foreigners alike, especially from Singapore, India, Taiwan, Japan and Indonesia.

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