Rohingya refugees escape death after highway accident

The van reportedly collided with a cow and careened into a ditch along the expressway. — Picture by Marcus Pheong
The van reportedly collided with a cow and careened into a ditch along the expressway. — Picture by Marcus Pheong

IPOH, Jan 24 — Fifteen people, including 14 Rohingya refugees, had a lucky escape when the van they were in hit a cow and careened into a shallow ditch along the North-South Expressway (NSE) near Tapah, Perak this morning.

The group was heading from Butterworth to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Kuala Lumpur, when the accident happened at around 4.15am

At the time of the accident, Tapah police chief Superintendent Som Sak Din Keliaw said the van was being driven by a 29-year-old local man, while one of the refugees was sitting in the front passenger seat.

He said the other passengers — including eight adults and five children — were sitting in the rear passenger seats of the van.

“At Km 320.2 of the NSE’s southbound lanes, the van collided with a cow that was on the road. It then careened onto the shoulder of the road,” Som Sak said in a statement.

“Both the driver and front seat passenger suffered injuries to their left legs, and are currently receiving treatment. The others escaped uninjured.”

A spokesman for the Perak Fire and Rescue department said rescuers were called to the scene at 4.09am.

“Upon arriving at the scene, rescuers found that all the victims had been removed from the vehicle by passers-by. The vehicle was found in a one-metre deep ravine,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, Som Sak said the group was on their way to Kuala Lumpur for documentation purposes.

“Our checks determined that all the foreign adult passengers possessed United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees cards.” he added.

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