KOTA KINABALU: A year-end holiday to Sabah’s east coast for 33 Bruneians ended in tragedy when six of them were killed after their tour bus slammed into a tree before splitting in two.
Eighteen passengers were severely injured including six whom were listed as critical.
Nine others sustained minor injuries in the 3pm accident yesterday that occurred along Km9 of the Tamparuli Ranau trunk road.
The dead female passengers were identified as Zahama Pengiran Zainal, 61, Faridah, 60, and Norhayati Abdul Hadi, 61, and another person who is yet to be identified.
The dead male passengers were identified as Abdul Manan Ishak, 50 and Sapawi, 60.
Sabah Police Deputy Commissioner Senior Asst Comm Datuk Tan Kok Liang said a post mortem would be conducted on the bodies.
Tuaran police chief Dept Supt Zaharuddin Rasip said initial reports showed that the Brunei-owned Sunshine Borneo Tour and Travel bus was heading towards Tamparuli when tragedy struck.
One of the passengers, Mohd Nazirul Mubin, 21, said the bus was travelling on a downhill stretch when the driver overtook three vehicles at high speed. ?I think the brakes were not working,? he said.
Nazirul said the driver lost control of the bus as it approached a bend and the vehicle tipped onto its side.
According to him, the group of holidaymakers, including five children, had arrived in Kota Kinabalu from Bandar Seri Bergawan on Friday and had then proceeded to Sandakan, Semporna and Tawau.
They left Tawau early yesterday and stopped by the Kinabalu Park at 1pm. They were heading to the city when the accident occurred.
Retiree Sani Simet, 64, said he heard a loud bang.
As people screamed, the bus slid about 100m before smashing into a rain tree head on. The impact split the bus in two.
Two fire engines and 26 firemen as well as five ambulances were rushed to the scene.
Source: The Star Online,? Wednesday December 21, 2011.