IPOH: Twenty-seven passengers of a tour bus were killed after the vehicle hit a divider and overturned on its way down from Cameron Highlands Monday.
Twenty-two died at the scene of the accident and five at the Raja Permaisuri hospital here. Another 10 injured were being treated at the hospital.
This is believed to be the worst road accident in the nation's history.
Those killed were two Malaysians and 25 Thai nationals. The bus had 37 passengers onboard, 34 of them Thai tourists.
According to Perak state deputy CPO SAC Datuk Zakaria Yusof, the cause of the accident could have been speeding or brake failure.
"The driver was trying to negotiate a sharp bend but failed, causing the vehicle to hit a divider before overturning.
"The bus landed on its roof in a ditch about 51m away from the divider," SAC Zakaria said, adding that the impact killed 22 of the victims on the spot.
The accident occured at KM15 of the Cameron Highlands-Simpang Pulai road at 11.40am. The bus was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Cameron Highlands.
It is learn that the excursion bus company is registered in Jitra.
The impact of the crash was so severe that bodies were flung several metres away from the wreckage while others were trapped deep in the mangled vehicle.
It took about 100 police, Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Department and Public Works Department personnel over three hours to retrieve the bodies.
The wreckage was finally towed downhill at about 4pm, causing massive jams on both sides of the road as far as 5km away.
It is learnt that of the 10 survivors, one was discharged after being treated for minor injuries, three were undergoing surgery and the rest warded, as at 7pm.
Meanwhile, the police have issued the names of 26 of those killed. They are:
1.Omar Shahidan, 48 (male, Malaysian bus driver)
2. Soontorn a/l Kian, 38 (male, Malaysian tour guide of Siamese descent)
3. Charcart Knagsuwan, 48 (male)
4. Thanvaraj Poolsang, 36 (female)
5. Nutthiya Inyyim, 50 (female)
6. Poonporn Poolsaene, 41 (male)
7. Sumruay Swatphet, 48 (male)
8. Putharee Akkrarachaw Wanont, 42 (female)
9. Ponethanest Akkrarachaw Wanont, 45 (male)
10. Suchanchida Chaiaueai, 40 (female)
11. Sriwai Swatphet, 42 (female)
12. Prinya Prassakulchai, 48 (female)
13. Chutima Throukool, 25 (female)
14. Thitisak Pongtanarat, 51 (male)
15. Junpen Pongtanarat, 50 (female)
16. Phayong Kruanjinli, 59 (male)
17. Ekachai Na Bangxang, 64 (male)
18. Mantana Phromduag, 51 (female)
19. Rungnada Klungsawan (female)
20. Darunee Songserm (female)
21. Isariya Thiangtham, 25 (female)
22. Ampaiwan Thiangtham, 50 (female)
23. Maliwan Mekmahaprom, 53 (female)
24. Achara Wiwat, 36 (female)
25. Natkritta Poolsaeng, six, (female)
26. Weera Chuntanagon (male)
Major bus accidents in Malaysia in recent years:
Dec 17: Four prison officers killed after a Prisons Department bus plunged into a ravine along the hilly and winding Tambunan-Kota Kinabalu trunk road.
Oct 29: Seven passengers, aged between 13 and 28, killed after their bus skidded and overtured at KM38 Genting Sempah, while enroute to Kuala Lumpur. It was later revealed the driver of the bus had no valid driving licence.
Oct 10: Thirteen killed in bus crash along KM223 of the North-South Expressway (NSE), near the Simpang Ampat toll plaza.
Dec 25, 2009: Ten killed after a double-decker express bus skidded and hit a road divider at KM272.8 of the NSE, after the Ipoh Selatan toll plaza (northbound).
Dec 7, 2008: Ten dead after an express bus skided and overturned at KM146.5 of the NSE, near Pagoh, Johor.
Aug 13, 2007: One of the worst road crashes in Malaysian history claims 22 lives. The bus they victims were in crashed at KM229 of the NSE, near the Bukit Gantang rest area.
March 9, 2007: Six killed after an express bus plunged into a ravine at KM254, NSE, near the Sg Perak rest and recreation area.
July 30, 2006: Eleven pilgrims to the annual St Anne's Feast in Penang were killed when their chartered bus overturned at KM160.8 of the NSE, near the Jawi interchange at Nibong Tebal.
Nov 23, 2003: Fourteen killed when an express bus collides with another bus at KM63, Jalan Lipis-Merapoh near the Pahang-Kelantan border.