20 Killed, 9 Hurt in Malaysia Bus Crash

An express bus overturned Monday on Malaysia's main highway, killing at least 20 passengers in one of the worst traffic accidents in the country's history, police and fire officials said.

20 Killed, 9 Hurt in Malaysia Bus Crash
The 9 other people on the bus, including the seriously hurt driver, were hospitalized with various injuries, said a hospital spokesman and a police officer contacted at the scene in Bukit Gantang, about 125 miles north of Kuala Lumpur.

"The roof (of the bus) was totally ripped off," said the police officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Two Indonesians were among the dead, while the others were all Malaysian, said a spokesman for the fire station in the nearby town of Taiping.

"From our investigation of the brake marks, the driver was sleeping," said the spokesman, who also declined to be named for the same reason.

National news agency Bernama reported that seven of the injured were in serious condition.

The accident occurred before dawn on the North-South Expressway, which runs the entire length of the country from the Thai border in the north to Johor Bahru at the southern tip of the Malaysian peninsula.

Bernama said the bus, traveling from Johor Bahru to the northern town of Alor Star, was going downhill when it hit the curb and careened 20 yards off the road before flipping over. It had completed 405 miles of the 515-mile journey when the tragedy occurred.

Malaysia has a high-quality highway system with a speed limit of 70 miles per hour. But speeding is common, and many do not follow safety procedures; tailgating occurs frequently, as does failure to signal before changing lanes.

AP
Last Mod: 13 Ağustos 2007, 14:56
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