3 June – It was raining cats and dogs when I left the office at 6.15 pm for K.L. Tried to cover as much distance as possible while there is still daylight as it would be more difficult to drive in the dark in the heavy rain. Traffic was extra ordinary heavy because of the school holidays. Nevertheless, I made good time and reached the Genting tunnel by 7.30 pm. I should be home by 8.15pm I thought.
It all went smoothly until about 15km from the Gombak toll. I was driving at 95 kph around a corner when I was suddenly hit by a long snake of red tail lights. I hit my brakes and cursed. Cars behind me were jamming their brakes in unison. We all came to a standstill. The traffic was building up behind me. Cars in the right lane where I was started, moving but only a couple of feet at a time. It has to be an accident especially in the heavy rains, I thought.
I could hear sirens from a distance. I looked into my rear mirror to look out for an ambulance but could only see three endless rows of headlights shining through the pouring rain. I then discovered that the sirens were from a fire engine heading the opposite direction towards Kuantan. I continue to inch my way towards KL. I hear more sirens. This time, two fire engines went past me again towards Kuantan. This is weird! I thought! What’s going on? Why were the three fire engines going towards Kuantan. There couldn’t be any fire in the rain.
I hear sirens again. This time it was an ambulance which sped past me towards Kuantan. Shit! I had a bad feeling. There must be a very bad accident ahead. These fire engines and ambulance must be going up to the Genting tunnel to make a U-Turn. I continued advancing towards KL at 10kph. More sirens. This time it came from two ambulances going towards Kuantan. F**k! for sure something bad has happened. But where are the fire engines and the ambulances? They haven’t reached me. Darn! It must have been the traffic. More sirens! This time it was a police car going towards Kuantan.
Again more sirens! This time it was another fire engine and an ambulance heading towards Kuantan. I have been inching my way towards KL for about half an hour since I heard the first sirens. Finally, I could see flashing lights in my rear mirror and the sound of sirens. This time it was parting the rows of cars behind like the Red Sea. I promptly pulled over to be as close to the divider as possible, leaving some space between my car and the second row. One fire engine rushed past me. Immediately the vehicles get back in gueue covering up the corridor which the fire engine left. Three minutes later, the process repeated itself and this time two fire engines and one ambulance passed. Two more minutes, two police cars and one ambulance passed. Another 5 minutes, one fire engine and one ambulance passed. Meanwhile on the other side of the road, another ambulance headed towards Kuantan.
It took me another 20 minutes to reach the accident site. The four fire engines where at the side of the road overlooking a ravine. The road barrier at the side of the road was missing. The ambulances were parked further down the road. There were at least three police cars and more than twenty civilian cars parked. There were people everywhere. I could not see the wreckage but from the number of rescue vehicles, I deduced that it had to be a bus. The rains continued to pour.
After I passed the accident site, the jam cleared and I reached the Gombak toll within five minutes but there was an another fire engine rushing past me towards Kuantan. As I drove along Ulu Kelang road, I passed another four more ambulances which were blaring their sirens and rushing towards the accident. My only wish to God was that the fatalities would be minimum. I have never seen so many ambulances and fire engines in my life in one moment. It was surreal.
Picture in NST 4 June 2008
Anyway, that was my encounter with the Genting Bus Accident. Thank God only two lives were lost.