Families claim bodies of Genting bus tragedy

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 22 — Grieving families came to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) today to claim the bodies of their loved ones killed in the Genting Highlands bus crash yesterday — the worst express bus accident the country has seen in recent years.

Six bodies have so far been claimed by their next of kin as the hospital waits for more family members to arrive to identify the bodies.

Health Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Jeya Indran Sinnadurai said 30 autopsies have so far been carried out, with 17 of the bodies already identified as at 10am.

Those identified include 14 Malaysians and three foreigners.

Of the survivors, Dr Jeya said six were initially in critical condition but have since stabilised, though three remain in intensive care.

“Everyone who was taken out of the bus alive are still alive. All those who were critical, we have been able to turn around,” he said at a press conference.

The atmosphere is sombre  outside the HKL mortuary, where victims’ family members have gathered at a tent set up by the Taiwan Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation as they wait for the bodies of their loved ones to be released.

Foundation volunteers are seen consoling those who have come to retrieve the remains of their kin, as many appear to still be reeling from the shock of the whole tragedy.

Yesterday’s crash, which claimed 37 lives, is the worst public transport accident involving an express bus in recent years.

The bus had been travelling downhill enroute to Kuala Lumpur from the popular Genting Highlands mountain resort, when the driver lost control and hit a divider before the bus plunged down a 60m ravine at around 3pm.

Previously, the highest number of fatalities happened on December 20, 2010 when an express bus overturned - while also on its way down from Genting - killing 27 people.