Genting bus tragedy survivor: It was like the Titanic tipping

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KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 23): It was like the Titanic tipping ... It was horrible.

Ali Haider Shyed Haider, 46, found the incident like the historic disaster of the British passenger liner that sank in the North Atlantic Ocean in 1912 after colliding with an iceberg.

"The bus just flew off from the left lane of the road and plunged into the terrain," he said, reliving Wednesday's crash as the bus plunged 200-feet into the ravine on Genting Highlands.

"It was like Titanic tipping... It was horrible. I was sitting in the last row with my family," Ali Haider said.

Like many of the 16 survivors, Ali Haider said that if it wasn't for a single tree at the ravine which broke the bus' fall, they could have plunged even deeper.

"I was thrown outside the bus. I was at the bottom at the side of the bus and could see the tree divided the bus. I remember thinking, if the bus tipped to the side, I would have died," he said.

The Bangladesh national lost his brother in-law Rafieque Al Bhuijah, 54, in the accident that claimed 37 lives and has been labelled as one of the most fatal road accidents in recent times.

His sister Rashidah Buyah, 50, and her two children Rezyan Arefin, 24, and Raawnok Arefin, 14, are recovering in Selayang Hospital.

Ali Haider had been showing his sister, her husband and the children who were visiting from Canada, the popular holiday spot.

Ali Haider, who works with a local engineering firm, lies in the Kuala Lumpur Hospital (HKL) as he recovers from internal bleeding.

He said he never has driven up to the highlands.

"I usually don't take the bus. I drive but even then, I would park halfway up and take the cable car up all the way. I'm quite afraid of the height.

"I've been working in Malaysia for 18-years and have not been home. So when my family visits from all over the world I take them to Genting," Ali Haider says, managing a smile.

"I usually drive there but I didn't this time... I should have driven," he said, adding that he did not use his car due to issues with payment.

Ali Haider said the driver was driving fast but quickly noted that other cars on the road were also really driving fast.

"All of them were fast. He stopped near the Chinese temple (Chin Swee Caves temple) and had an exchange of words with a Honda driver in front of him. They were arguing.

"Then he continued to drive at such speed. Even at the curves of the road, he was driving fast.

"After the third turning, we were all yelling at him and then the bus just flew off the road," he said, adding that in the moment's panic not everyone would have noticed all the surrounding details, causing the contradictory statements by many survivors.

"If the driver had sensed something was wrong with the vehicle, that the brakes were off, he should have stopped at the side of the road and told us that he didn't want to continue but he didn't," Ali Haider said, adding that bus companies should select drivers carefully.

Asked about the barricade at the side of the private road which could have assisted in breaking the fall, Ali Haider said the bus was too overloaded and was moving at too high a speed that the barricades could not have served that purpose.

"The iron (barricade) would not have broken the fall. How could it, (when) the bus was too overloaded and it was (moving) way too fast," he said, still shivering upon reminscing the uncontrollable flying sensation.

Another survivor, 19 year-old Saidah Misbun said she was conscious during the whole ordeal.

"The driver stopped at the temple and then after that he was just speeding. He didn't brake at all. He was just speeding and was in the middle of the road.

"Then he grazed the side of a lorry. People were screaming and that was that. The bus plunged," she said calmly.

Saidah's mum, Sarimah Mohktar, who was by her hospital bed todya, recollected her harrowing experience.

"We were having a drink in Tanjung Malim when she called us saying that she was about to board the bus.

"Just a few minutes after that, she calls us back and says that the bus met with an accident and that she was in pain and needed help," recounted the 43 year-old.

"Until I saw her face, I couldn't believe that she was okay. When she called to say the bus met with an accident, we didn't know that the bus had fallen into the ravine," Sarimah said.

Saidah had been working in a hotel at the resort for two months now, and had accompanied a friend on the bus ride.

"I usually don't take the bus. I stop half-way and take the cable cars. This is my first time taking the bus," she said.

"I don't know what to say of the ordeal. There is trauma as I was conscious throughout the whole ordeal but I don't know what to say," she said, as she is being treated for abrasion wounds.

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