KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 24 — An express bus skidded and plunged off a cliff early this morning in Muar, Johor, killing 14 people including the driver.
The death toll rose to 14 from the initially reported 13, Bernama tweeted a fire and rescue official as saying.
The incident, which also injured 16, took place at Kampung Jayo, Jalan Kangkar-Senangah, Pagoh at around 4am on Christmas Eve.
Today’s accident was the worst involving buses since the 2013 Genting Highlands bus crash that killed 37 people.
The bus was said to be on the way to Kuala Lumpur from Johor Baru.
According to fire and rescue officials quoted by Bernama, the injured passengers comprised seven Malaysians, six Singaporeans, two Myanmarese and one whose nationality was not verified, totalling 16.
Bernama reported Muar police as saying that the 14 dead comprised six men and eight females, including a girl.
Sinar Online reported that the express bus was ferrying 30 people.
Initial investigation showed that the road surface was in good condition when the incident happened, The Star Online quoted Johor Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohd Yusof Mohd Gunnos as saying.
He also noted that the roads were dry. National newswire Bernama quoted Mohd Yusof as saying that a child was among the dead after the bus plunged into a six-metre-deep ravine at KM137 of the North-South Expressway.
Both the dead and injured have reportedly been taken to the Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar.
As many as 25 fire and rescue personnel from the Muar, Bukit Gambit and Yong Peng stations were said to have been deployed to the location after receiving the distress call at around 4am.
Today’s crash adds on to the long list of traffic accidents involving express busses, with many of them caused by reckless driving.
In many cases, the drivers involved in the incidents were also found to be repeat traffic offenders.
The accidents have prompted the authorities to clamp down on express bus companies, yet more incidents have taken place.