Coach crash: Tour agency to help with insurance claims

Coach crash: Tour agency to help with insurance claims
There were 38 passengers on board at the time of the crash in Malaysia last Sunday, including 20 Singaporeans who escaped with slight injuries.

MALAYSIA - All 38 passengers on board the coach that crashed in Malaysia on Sunday will receive insurance payouts, the director of the tour agency they booked with said yesterday.

"Anything I can do... I will definitely help," said Sany Travel and Tour's Michael Sim, 69, who vowed to help them claim compensation. "There is no such thing to me as shirking responsibility. It's my duty. I have to help."

Police are investigating the crash, which killed British engineer Harry Christopher Woolhouse, 32, on impact. One Chinese national was still in hospital with rib injuries last night.

There were 38 passengers on board at the time of the crash, including 20 Singaporeans who escaped with slight injuries.

Mr Sim said medical claims could take several months and will involve him liaising with the insurers of Malaysian bus operator Merry Holidays.

Sany works with the company to transport passengers between Singapore and Trengganu for its Redang Island packages.

Sunday's accident - Sany's first in its 28 years in business - has prompted "soul-searching" at the company, Mr Sim told The Straits Times.

Singaporean Lam Yee Ling, 21, has said the firm could have done more to help her and her family.

She claims that Sany did not contact them after the crash and could not state which company was insuring the trip. They were driven home by her boyfriend on Sunday night.

However, Mr Sim said the Lam family were among the least injured of the passengers while others were "priorities". He added that his mind is "not on the academics" for now and that he hopes to "clear the crisis" before embarking on the lengthy process of insurance claims.

He said he coordinated buses back to Singapore for the passengers and arranged for the wife of the hospitalised Chinese national to fly to Malaysia.

"We had to cut a lot of red tape to fly her in within 24 hours, such as in getting her a visa," he said. "We try to do things when people are in difficulty and we're pulling all the strings we could pull."

He also wanted to call the family of British victim Harry Christopher Woolhouse, 32, to extend his condolences, but was advised not to, due to "diplomatic protocol".

waltsim@sph.com.sg

This article was published on April 23 in The Straits Times.

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