TAPAH – Eight people were killed, seven of them burnt to death, when a tour bus caught fire after it crashed into a ditch along the North-South Expressway near the Tapah toll plaza early today, police said.
Tapah Police chief Supt Somsak Din Keliaw said the seven who were burnt to death were passengers while the driver died of a serious rib injury while being rushed to hospital.
He also said that 21 passengers were injured and two unhurt in the accident that happened at 1.15 am at Km326.3 on the south-bound stretch of the highway after the bus, which was carrying 30 passengers from Kuala Kurau to Genting Highlands, skidded and crashed into the ditch to the left when trying to avoid hitting a tyre on the road.
Somsak Din named the dead passengers as women Lim Soo Lan, 59, Aw Ah Poh, 56, Ong Ah Yook, 58, and Sin Ah Huat, 54, and men Tan Ah Ba, 65, Tan Chan Ming, 69, and Tan Ah Baa, 64. He identified the driver as M. Jayagunasgaran, 40.
The bodies of the passengers were sent to the Tapah Hospital while the body of Jayagunasgaran was sent to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital in Ipoh.
Somsak Din said the injured were treated as out-patients at the Tapah Hospital before being sent for further treatment at the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital and private hospitals in Ipoh.
“It is believed that the accident happened after the bus driver tried to avoid hitting a tyre on the road, causing the bus to crash into the ditch on the left and catch fire,” he said.
The bus, belonging to LBS Travel and Tours, was ferrying the 30 passengers from Kuala Kurau to Genting Highlands, he said.
Perak Health, Public Transport, Non-Muslim Affairs, National Integration and Chinese New Villages Committee chairman and Chendering state assemblyman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon visited the injured at the Tapah Hospital. – BERNAMA