"（兵南邦讯）沙巴兵南邦警区主任拉旦库玛副警监指出，前天在担布南─东贡岸山路发生车祸的34名新加坡旅客大部分已出院。 拉旦库玛昨天对星洲日报说，车祸后送到亚庇中央医院的伤者，只有2人留医，包括一名颈部受伤的李姓男乘客，以及一名出院后又因感冒及肺部不舒服，重回医院检查的伤者。 拉旦库玛也表示，警方已对涉案的旅游长巴司机抽血化验，结果显示司机血液未含酒精成分，因此警方初步相信长巴是因煞车器失灵而导致车祸。"English version from the New Sabah Times.
4th June, 2012 PENAMPANG: A 40-seater tour coach rammed into another tour bus (31-seater) before crashing into a culvert and landing on its side along the Tambunan – Penampang Road, at 4.47pm yesterday. Three of the 34 Singaporean tourists on board the coach sustained minor injuries and were rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) for treatment and have been discharged. However, the other tourists numbering 20 or so on board the 30-seater bus escaped unharmed. According to Great and Famous Tours and Travel Sdn Bhd, which is involved in the ground handling of the tour, the group of tourists was returning from their two-day religious retreat in Tambunan. “I was made to understand the cause of the accident was brake failure,” said Jeremiah Dorsey, the Public Relations Officer of the company. He also clarified that the two coaches involved were not theirs but were hired from two tour operators. He thanked the police personnel, the medical team and the civil defence for their professionalism and efficiency in attending to the victims.I recall another similar incident that happened along the hills on Genting Highlands in Peninsular Malaysia.(Via New Straits Times)
With some light research, I was able to conclude that the Genting Highlands crashed bus, belonged to Star Mart Express. I recall ticket offers from Singapore to Genting Highlands at only s$25 from Star Mart Express.
I have no idea if they forgotten the internet bills, or they found out that people were able to identify that it was their bus that crashed, maybe they shut down their website to protect their brand. But come on, this is the internet age, anything can be Google'd.
A quick look into their unprotected whois of www.greatnfamous.com reveals another company name, so is it Blue Waters Borneo or Great N Famous that was operating the tour?
Blue Waters Borneo's company address in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
A follow up check on Sabah Tourism Board's land-operator lists, reveals that both Great N Famous and Blue Waters Borneo, have the same addresses, shady huh?
Tips and guides on choosing a good tour operator.
- Reasonable rates, if it's too cheap, something's definitely wrong, they probably cut corners on high maintenance needs of vehicles, resulting in potential dangers for tourists, which in this latest crash, involved brake failure.
- Detailed web with proper information, pictures and reviews from actual clients from dependable sources such as TripAdvisor.
There I was, with my friendly and experienced bus driver, Mr Zul, at the airport.
And I was also given the experience of riding in a bigger tourist bus around the island of Sabah. What kept my trip worry-free and enjoyable was knowing and seeing that the buses were well maintained, clean and most importantly, driven by safe experienced captains.
So next time you travel, remember, it's it's too cheap, it's too good to be safe. Good, trusted and reliable companies will never cheapen themselves and jeopardize the safety of tourists like you and me.