Aug 24, 2013
The wreckage of the bus being removed from the crash site yesterday. The accident on Wednesday killed 37 people. — PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
KUALA LUMPUR – Genting’s Fire and Rescue department chief has described the bus crash that killed dozens of people this week as the worst accident he has seen in his 26 years of experience.
Mr M. Mahandran said he watched victims die in front of him after he rushed to the scene of Malaysia’s worst road accident.
The packed bus dived into a ravine on Wednesday, killing 37 people, including the driver. Rescue efforts were called off a day later.
“I saw people die in front of me,” Mr Mahandran said. “When we got there about 30 minutes after the accident, we could hear some of the victims calling out to us, asking to be saved.
“There were bodies everywhere and, by the time we got to them, they could not hold on any longer.”
He said some passengers trapped in the wreckage were pinned down by bodies.
He spoke of his relief at being able to save two victims stuck at the back of the bus. “We were glad to see them alive,” he said in a Star report yesterday.
After cranes hauled the bus out of the ravine yesterday, Mr Mahandran and his team noticed that diesel was leaking from the tank.
“We are glad the bus hadn’t exploded as that could have led to more deaths,” he said. Rescue officials used soda to stop the diesel from going down the road.
One survivor recounted the terror he felt when he was sandwiched between bodies after the bus plummeted into the ravine.
Mr Tan Ming Shing, who is receiving treatment at Kuala Lumpur Hospital, said he was stuck between two bodies for around half an hour before he was pulled to safety.
“My only thought at the time was that I had to stay alive no matter what happened. I was trapped. There were bodies on top of me and under me. Luckily, I still had a bit of room to breathe,” said the 26-year-old.
Mr Tan, who works at a kitchen in Genting, suffered a broken left arm during the accident, The Star said.
“When the bus plunged down, passengers were screaming, crying or praying. I was sure I was going to die,” he said.
He said the impact was so great that he was flung from his seat at the back of the bus to the front. “If not for the big trees there, the bus would have plunged down even further,” he added.
The police yesterday concluded their inspection of the accident area. The wreckage of the bus will be sent to the Bentong police headquarters for further investigation, a Star report said.
The bus will be dismantled to allow experts to investigate the cause of the accident, The New Straits Times reported.
“Some of the things that will be inspected will be the road-worthiness of the vehicle and the functions of the brakes and tyres,” said Bentong Police Chief Superintendent Mohd Mansor.