Witnesses speak of possible brake failure in bus tragedy

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 21, 2013): A victim in the Genting bus tragedy recalled the nightmare seconds before the ride he was in plunged into a 30-metre ravine at 2.15pm this afternoon.

Ali Haider Shyed Haider, 46, when recounting the incident to his employer Siti Rohamuton Yusof, 21, said he and his family had wanted to experience the cable car ride at the highlands yesterday but could not do so as it was said to be out of service.

The family had gone again today in the ill-fated bus.

"But on the way down, Ali claimed that the bus had been speeding and the brakes failed.

"I was supposed to join his family today but Allah saved me," Siti Rohamuton told reporters while visiting her employee at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

She added that there was no news yet on the fate of Ali Haider's parents and two siblings.

Over at the Bentong Hospital, one of the victims Suriadi Budiarto, 52, said the bus had been proceeding slowly but its brakes had failed when it reached the accident spot.

The first-time visitor to Genting Highlands said when the bus driver tried to avoid a lorry in front he had to swerve the vehicle causing it to plunge into the ravine.

"I'm so grateful to be alive with only some minor injuries on my back even though I was thrown out of the bus. I'm shocked that so many people died in the accident," he said.

Meanwhile, anxious and restless family members were seen awaiting word of their loved ones at several hospitals where the victims of the bus accident at Genting Highlands were sent.

One of them, Faisal Mohd Rashid, 24, feared that his father Mohd Rashid Jantan, 61, an assistant security manager at Genting Highlands, may have been in the mishap.

Faisal said his father has been with Genting for 35 years and usually took the yellow bus back to their home in Greenwood, Gombak about 3 or 4pm everyday.

"I have not been able to reach him on his mobile phone and his colleagues don't know his whereabouts too. I don't know if he was on the bus, we haven't received any news.

"My mother, Noraini Muid, 51, who is a school teacher, was the one who told me about the accident. So I rushed over here. I just pray that he's safe," he told reporters when met at the Selayang Hospital here today.

The second of six siblings said his father was on duty from 6 am to 2 pm today and had not come home yesterday as he was working in the evening.

Meanwhile, a man known only as Teoh, 45, said he had been waiting for the past hour for news of his friend.

"She went to see her friend in Genting and I'm not sure if she was on the bus. I'll just wait here until I find out," he said.

Teoh, who works as a fitness instructor in Seri Petaling, however, said he was confident his friend was safe.

As for Ahmad Shahuddin, 53, he received a call from his daughter Nur Maizatul Syazanah, saying she suffered a broken leg in the accident.

"I couldn't take her call before the accident. When I called her back she said she was involved in the accident and had a broken leg, and then the line was cut.

"I rushed over to this hospital but I'm not sure where she is as I've not received any news yet," said the lorry driver from Rawang.

Ahmad said his daughter, a clerk, had gone to Genting today as it was the last day of her Hari Raya holiday and she was due to start work tomorrow.

According to Ong Cheng Hoe, 54, a relative of the bus driver Lim Kok Hoe, 44, who was also confirmed killed in the tragedy, Lim had just started worked with the bus company two months ago.

He said Lim was from Johor and had been putting up at his house in Pandan Indah and used to work for a bus company in Singapore. Ong said Lim had left for work at 8am today for his 9.30 shift. – Bernama