BALIK PULAU: A bus carrying Myanmar Muslim missionaries crashed into a 10-metre-deep ravine in Jalan Tun Sardon, off the hills here yesterday, killing one passenger and seriously injuring 10 others, including the driver.
The deceased, Abdul Jatba, 47, was said to have died on the spot.
The injured were rushed to Balik Pulau Hospital before being transferred to Penang Hospital.
The incident happened about 8.20pm as the bus was travelling down a slope close to a sharp bend, near the town here, when the driver lost control of the vehicle.
Witnesses said the bus crashed into a lamp post before plunging into the ravine. The impact caused its roof and sides to be ripped off.
Earlier in the afternoon, the bus had picked up the missionaries from various locations in Seberang Prai Tengah. They had chartered the schoolbus for a three-day religious gathering at the Balik Pulau mosque.
One of the victims, Mohd Shuib, 30, when met at Balik Pulau Hospital, said there was a pungent smell as the bus was going uphill.
"The smell got stronger when we started going downhill. Suddenly, there was a screeching sound and I noticed the bus swerving as the driver tried to regain control of it.
"The bus flipped over and everybody screamed," he said, adding that he was thrown off his seat and landed a distance away from the bus.
Lazim Rahimhullah, 32, said the entire roof of the bus was ripped off.
"I felt like I was flying in the air for a while as I was flung from my seat."
The incident caused a massive jam along the winding, narrow hilly road as hundreds of rescue workers from the state Fire and Rescue Department, volunteer fire-fighters and police personnel gathered at the scene.
This was the fourth accident involving buses reported this month. The three other crashes were on:
MAY 13: Two buses carrying Umno members crashed into a trailer at Km258.8 of the North-South Expressway, near Port Dickson, killing a woman and injuring 77 others.
MAY 11: A tour bus driver was killed and 28 others injured when the bus they in crashed into a tree in Jalan Gadong Jaya, near Kampung LBJ in Nilai, Negri Sembilan.
MAY 1: Three people, including a bus driver, were killed when the bus they were in crashed into a wall of a new Sungai Buaya, Rawang, plaza toll at Km434 of the North-South Expressway.