Ill-fated bus was ferrying tourists on diving trip
PASSENGERS in a double-decker bus which plunged into a 15m ravine in Pahang, Malaysia, were on a diving trip to Pulau Redang over the long weekend, Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.
One person died and 20 were injured after the bus skidded and rolled over several times, landing near an oil palm plantation on Sunday afternoon.
The upper deck of the bus was squashed flat, Wanbao reported.
Mr Harry Christopher Woolhouse, 32, from Britain, died in the accident. One other passenger is in critical condition, while three others sustained serious injuries.
Passengers hailing from Singapore had minor injuries. Ms Sharon Tay, 24, and her cousin, Ms Fu Shi Yun, 26, told reporters they were on their way back from a diving trip.
"We felt the bus sway and brake urgently, then it felt like we rolled over twice. It was scary," Ms Tay said.
They were both sitting in the lower deck of the bus.
Chinese passenger Guo Minghui, 42, told the Malaysian media that speeding on a slippery road might have caused the accident.
"It was raining, and the bus sped up as the rain got lighter," he said. "I was tossed out of my seat. Luckily, I was sitting near the exit and there was a stair rail which stopped me from flying out the bus window," Mr Guo said.
He had injuries on his hand and back, but helped other passengers out of the bus.
Mr Guo, who has been working in Singapore for 10 years, said he will be cancelling his trip to Langkawi next month.
There were 16 Singaporeans, six Chinese and five Indian nationals on the bus. The other passengers were from Britain, Myanmar, France, the United States, Vietnam and Taiwan, Malaysian daily Sin Chew Jit Poh reported.
The driver, relief driver and tour guide are Malaysian.
The driver, who wanted to be known as Along, told Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times: "It was raining and I suddenly lost control of the vehicle when descending a sloping stretch. The bus spun several times before it rolled over the slope on the left side of the road."
Passenger S. Balaji from Madurai, India, said he was lucky as he was seated on the left side of the upper deck with four friends.
"It happened so fast that the only thing I could remember was the bus landing in a bush. Luckily, my friends and I managed to crawl out of the bus through the broken windows," the 29-year-old software engineer who works in Singapore told New Straits Times.