SWIFT, decisive action by a shuttle bus driver prevented further calamity during the landslide in Genting Highlands on Tuesday evening.
Two shuttle buses, which were ferrying passengers from the Grand Ion Delemen Hotel to the First World Hotel at the hilltop resort, narrowly avoided being caught in the landslide, which saw Jalan Genting-Amber Court enveloped in earth.
Grand Ion Delemen Hotel general manager Jack Lim told the New Straits Times said the passengers were hotel guests.
He said the driver in the first bus, which was carrying 23 passengers, noticed rocks rolling downhill at 5.45pm.
The driver, sensing something amiss, stopped the bus.
His instincts served him well. Moments later, the landslide occurred, covering the road in front of them in rocks and earth.
“It was raining heavily at the time. Our drivers were transporting the passengers to the First World Hotel to do their shopping.
“There were two buses transporting our guests. The first bus was carrying 23 passengers while the second bus had seven passengers.
“The driver of the first bus took decisive action when he saw rocks rolling down the hill.
“A few seconds later, the landslide occurred,” he said.
Lim said the drivers turned back to the hotel, 4km from the affected area.
The guests, he said, remained calm.
“The driver then told me what happened,” he said, adding that the hotel commended the driver.
A video of the incident, believed to be taken by passengers in the second bus, has since been circulating on social media.
The landslide buried and blocked a portion of Jalan Genting-Amber Court.
Lim said, after the incident, they dispatched their operation team to the scene to facilitate and monitor the situation so that no guests would wander in the area.
He said they advised guests to stay put and not visit the site of the landslide.
“The road was cleared by the authorities today (yesterday).
“An alternative route near to the scene has been opened. However, it is difficult for anyone to pass that route.
“There are guests who checked out today (yesterday), and everything was taken care of to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We are taking every step to ensure that our customers as well as the staff are taken care of.
“The shuttle bus ferrying guests is escorted by one of our hotel teams,” he said.
Up to yesterday evening, the stretch between Jalan Genting-Amber Court was accessible only by foot and open to light vehicles.
Genting Highlands Fire and Rescue Department senior assistant chief Yusry Abdullah Sani said clearing work was ongoing.
He said the stretch was expected to open to all vehicles by last night.
He said the team was monitoring the situation.
The department had said 200 tourists who were trapped in a hotel-serviced apartment located near the landslide area were evacuated yesterday morning.
They were led to a safe area on foot in stages in small groups with the last batch evacuated at 4am. The hotel management provided transport to take them to a safe location.
The incident occurred following a downpour since 4pm.
No casualties were reported.
The landslide has not affected the main route to Genting Highlands as it occurred at a route leading to a different part of the resort.