BATU PAHAT, Dec 24 – One of the survivors of the tour bus tragedy in Thailand on Sunday claimed that the poor physical condition of the bus may have led to the mishap. Tan Yang Soon, 64, disclosed this to his son Sien Nian, 36, when the latter visited him on Monday at the McCormick Hospital in Chiang Mai, near where the accident took place.
Sien Nian, a trader, told reporters his father, who had experience as a lorry driver, had told him that the bus was not roadworthy as its hand brake was not functioning and the passenger seats did not have seat belts. According to his father, he said on the first day, the tour group was travelling in a double-decker bus before switching to the ill-fated bus on the second day due to some of the tour group members facing difficulty in boarding a double-decker bus.
“At the time of the incident, the bus driver, who seemed to be inexperienced, said the hand brake was not working, forcing my father and other passengers to help him pull the brake before the bus skidded three minutes later,” he said when met at the Hoon Chew Tong Association funeral parlour, here Wednesday.
The remains of four members of Sien Nian’s family who perished in the tragedy, namely his grandmother Low Chee Lan, 85, aunt Tan Sui Heng, 54, uncle Ker Bong Ngwang, 57, and sister Tan Thin Thin, 39, are at the funeral parlour. Sien Nian said his father, whose left leg was broken, was in stable condition after undergoing surgery and was expected to be discharged within two weeks.
Besides Sien Nian’ father, his cousin sister Ker Shin Hui (daughter of Sui Heng and Bong Ngwang), 28, who escaped death in the incident, is now being treated at the same hospital and is expected to be discharged within two months. The remains will be cremated on Friday and Saturday in Pagoh near Muar before the ashes are kept at a temple in Jalan Zabedah here.
The family of four was among the 13 people who died in the bus crash which took place at 11.30am in Thailand (12.30pm Malaysian time) on Sunday. The bus carrying the 22 Malaysians crashed after an accident with a pickup truck while going from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai.