SHAH ALAM: When the tour bus they were travelling in skidded, crashed and landed on its side in Pamukkale, Turkey, on Wednesday, Ahmad Fahmy Baharudin’s only focus was to get his colleagues out of the ill-fated vehicle.
Fahmy, who is an architectural assistant officer with the Selangor State Development Corporation (PKNS), said he quickly assisted his colleagues to safety despite sustaining injuries on his left hand.
Amid the chaos, the 39-year-old noticed there was no movement from 50-year-old Azalan Miswan, who was seated at the front of the tour bus and pinned in the vehicle.
“I thought Azalan may have passed out from the impact of the accident.
“But, I remained calm and did not want to cause more panic.
“It was only when Azalan’s body was extricated out of the bus by the medical personnel and police did it hit me that he had died in the accident.
“We were all extremely overwhelmed at that moment upon realising that we had lost a very good friend and colleague,” said the teary eyed Fahmy.
He said he had alerted the driver to the strange noises coming from the back of the tour bus.
He said the driver had stopped at a nearby petrol station and checked the vehicle and assured them, through the tour guide, that nothing was wrong.
“I was a little worried but did not think much of it.
“However, tragedy struck about 10 minutes later.
“I will remember Azalan as a very helpful person.
“If you made a mistake, he would have the patience to make things right and would not belittle anyone,” said Fahmy.
Another colleague, Asana Ali, who led the tour group, said they had initially planned a trip to Morocco, but the destination was changed to Turkey.
The 58-year-old property sales manager said Azalan was heavy hearted about going to Turkey but agreed to go on the trip anyway.
“I observed that he was quiet and not very chatty, which was unlike him,” Asana said.
“We only realised he had died when the authorities covered his body with a piece of cloth.
“I will miss him tremendously as we have known each other since we were single, got married and built our own families.
“Azalan was also fond of teasing us by giving us missed calls from his handphone whenever we were in meetings, as if to tell us to take it easy.”
Legal officer Ahmad Hazim Ramli described Azalan as a father figure and a brother, who was much loved and close to everyone in PKNS.
Hazim said Azalan was a brilliant sepak takraw player and teams were called “Anak Anak Azalan” after him.
“I have known him for five years and it was sports that brought us closer,” said Hazim.
“He loved to treat me to tea and never once let me pay the bill.
“I last saw him on Saturday morning during a volleyball tournament before he flew to Turkey.
“He paid for my meal and asked me to pray for him as he was leaving for Turkey later that night.”