Driver could have been speeding: Muar police

Driver could have been speeding: Muar police
The Alisan Gold Coach bus, which was travelling from Johor Baru to Kuala Lumpur, veered off the North-South Expressway near Muar in Johor and plunged from a height of more than 6m.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

Two Singaporean women were among 14 people who died yesterday when a bus plunged more than 6m off the North-South Expressway near Muar in Johor, the police said.

Sixteen others, including six other Singaporeans, were injured in the accident, which happened at around 4am.

The police told The Sunday Times that six men and seven women, as well as one female child, were among those killed in the Christmas Eve accident.

The two dead Singaporeans were Ms Au Poi Kiew and Ms Hamimah Mamo.

Read Also: MFA in touch with Singaporeans affected by KL-Johor bus crash

No other details were immediately available.

Although Muar police chief Azman Ayob said the bus was likely to have been speeding when its driver lost control, the cause of the accident was still being investigated.

"Some of those who survived are seriously injured and we can't interview them," Mr Azman said.

Checks found that there were no signs of the Alisan Gold Coach bus braking on the 150m grass patch by the side of the highway, which the police say implied that the driver did not attempt to slow down before the bus plunged from the highway.

Read Also: 14 on KL-Johor bus die in Christmas Eve crash

The bus was travelling from Johor Baru to Kuala Lumpur.

All the dead and injured were taken to the Sultanah Fatimah hospital in Muar.

At least four survivors have been discharged.

The six injured Singaporeans included one female.

Read Also: Johor bus crash: Driver only had 3 hours rest

Among those hurt were seven Malaysians, two from Myanmar and a person whose nationality had yet to be verified.

The Johor Fire and Rescue Department received a distress call at around 4am. Its deputy director Mohd Yusof Mohd Gunnos said the road surface was in good condition and it was not raining.

Mr Ahmad Fahmi Khairuddin, 19, claimed the bus was speeding before he saw it "flying" off the highway and smashing into a concrete wall below.

Mr Ahmad Fahmi was playing a board game with three friends at 3.25am at his home, about 100m from the accident, when the crash happened.

Read Also: Johor bus crash: 3 among the dead were to get married next year

"The noise was three times as loud as a tyre exploding. I heard screams for help. My friends and I helped to carry whichever victims could be moved," he told Bernama news agency.

Malaysian daily Berita Harian reported that one of those killed was Ms Nor Saidatul Akmal Idris, 21, who was due to marry on Jan 29.

Bernama also reported that Myanmar national Ralza Uk's plans to celebrate Christmas in Kuala Lumpur were dashed after his face and arm were injured.

"When the bus fell, I felt it floating but I was still in my seat. Suddenly, I felt pain all over my body and couldn't move," the 25-year-old said.

14 on KL-Johor bus die in Christmas Eve crash

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    Burial of Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa, 21, together with her mother Faridah Binte Tamron (not in picture), 63.

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    More than 100 relatives of three Singaporean women who died gathered at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim cemetery.

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    About 70 of their relatives, including Madam Faridah's son and another daughter, gathered under a scorching sun at around 1pm.

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    Top to bottom: Hamimah Binte Mammu, Faridah Binte Tamron, Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa.

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    Sons and relatives of Mdm Hamimah Binte Mammu praying after burial.

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    Sons and relatives of Mdm Hamimah Binte Mammu praying after burial.

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    Three schoolmates of Nur Hazimah Binte Mustafa who were there to pray for their departed friend.

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    13 people including the bus driver were killed and 17 others injured when the express bus they were travelling in skidded and plunged off a 6.09m cliff in Muar, Johor on Dec 24, 2016.

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    Another victim was pronounced dead while receiving treatment at Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital (HPSF) in Muar.

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    The incident took place at Kampung Jayo, Jalan Kangkar-Senangah, Pagoh near Muar at around 4am.

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    Johor Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohd Yusof Mohd Gunnos said the bus was heading to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Baru.

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    He said 25 firemen from the Muar, Bukit Gambit and Yong Peng stations were deployed to the location after receiving the distress call at around 4am.

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    Mohd Yusof said initial investigation showed that the road surface was in good condition and it was not raining when the incident happened.

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    Family members of the victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.

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    Family members of the bus accident victims waiting outside the ward of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar at 8.51pm on Dec 24 2016.

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    The list of the dead victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar.

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    The list of the dead victims at the Forensic Unit of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist hospital in Muar.

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    The bodies of the bus driver and his child being loaded into the hearse.

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    The bodies of the bus driver and his child being loaded into the hearse.

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    Businessman Yusof Sabda, 54, cousin of Singaporean victim Ms Hamimah Mammu.

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    Mr Steven Chong, 52, a representative of the Goldstar Exprese bus company. He said his company would help the families with the costs of bringing back the body, as well as insurance claims, but could not yet confirm whether it would be providing any other compensation to the families.

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    Body of Ms Au Poi Kiew being loaded onto the hearse.

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    Relatives of Ms Au Poi Kiew loading her body onto the hearse.

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    Muhd Haikal Bin Syed, (right, walking out) 23, NSF, and Muhd Shamir Bin Syed, (wiping eye) 21, ITE student, both sons of Ms Hamimah Mammu after looking at the body of their mother.

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    Mr Yusof, cousin of Ms Hamimah Mammu, waving at the hearse after the body of Ms Hamimah was loaded onto it.

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    Relatives of Ms Hamimah Mammu hugging after the body was loaded onto the hearse.

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    Entrance of Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.

In response to the accident, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, chairman of the Malaysian Institute of Road Safety (Miros), called on the government to set up a transportation safety board as an independent government investigative agency for civil transportation accidents.

The setting up of a board was a key recommendation set out by an advisory panel following a bus crash in Genting Highlands in 2013 that killed 37 people.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said in a statement: "We are saddened by the tragic bus accident. The Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Baru is in close contact with the Johor authorities. Our consul-general and MFA officers are at the hospital in Muar to assist affected Singaporeans and their next of kin."

shannont@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on December 25, 2016.
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