Wednesday, August 21, 2013

At least 20 dead, 15 hurt in Malaysia bus accident - Channel News Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: At least 20 bodies have been recovered from a bus that plunged into a deep ravine near a Malaysian hilltop tourist resort on Wednesday, a fire department official said.

Police have said the bus was carrying up to 45 people when it tumbled down a hill in Genting Highlands, a gambling and entertainment resort about an hour's drive from the capital Kuala Lumpur.

"We have 20 confirmed dead," the fire official, M Mahendran, told AFP by phone.

"We have taken out some injured people but we are unable to confirm how many were in the bus."

He said officials have been unable to confirm the nationalities of victims.

Lines of rescuers clinging to an orange rope for support were seen pulling out injured victims from the mangled bus which was lying on its side in thick vegetation about 30 metres (100 feet) down from the road.

Amateur photos posted on the Internet also showed damage to the road's concrete embankment, suggesting the bus had managed to smash through the barrier.

Malaysian media had earlier reported that at least 15 people had been sent to hospital after the accident at around 3pm on the steep and winding road.

There were no details on the severity of the injuries of the rescued passengers, who had been sent to hospitals in Selayang and Kuala Lumpur.

Police said the bus was part of a line that regularly ferries both tourists and locals between the capital and the hill resort.

The resort, whose bright lights can be seen from the city at night, is operated by Malaysian gaming firm Genting, one of the country's largest companies.

The resort includes the country's sole casino and has attracted more than 20 million visitors per year since 2011. It is currently undergoing a reportedly three billion ringgit ($900 million) refurbishment.

The plans include a 400 million ringgit Twentieth Century Fox theme park set to open in 2016.

However, the steep and winding road leading up to the Genting Highlands is notoriously perilous.

Two Indian tourists died and 22 other people were hurt when their bus overturned in the area last year.


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