KUALA LUMPUR – Two military aircraft, one each from Malaysia and Thailand, flew in here early today with the remains of the 13 Malaysians killed in a tour bus accident in Thailand on Sunday as well as one of the nine injured passengers and 12 next-of-kin.
The Hercules C-130 aircraft touched down at the Subang military airbase at 3.32am and 3.38am, respectively, after a three-hour flight from Chiang Mai, near where the accident took place, about 700km north of the Thai capital city of Bangkok.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Mah Siew Keong and Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun were at the airbase to receive the remains and the injured passenger, identified as Madam Lee Siew Kim, 61, as well as the next-of-kin.
The 13 were killed after the bus carrying the 22 Malaysians crashed at 11.30am (12.30pm in Malaysia) on Sunday following an accident with a pickup truck while travelling from from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.
At the Subang airbase, each of the 13 caskets was carried by eight Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel from the aircraft to waiting hearses.
One family member was seen holding onto a casket and heard addressing her late father in Mandarin: “Let’s go home to Batu Pahat.”
After all the remains had been placed in the hearses, the vehicles left the airbase in a convoy at 4.23am for Batu Pahat, Johor.
The injured Siew Kim was taken in an ambulance straight to the Batu Pahat Hospital. Her condition was reported to be stable.
The eight other injured Malaysians, five of whom were severely injured, are being treated at a hospital in Chiang Mai.