PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The remains of the 13 Malaysians who perished in Sunday's (Dec 20) bus crash in Chiang Mai were received by family members at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang early on Wednesday (Dec 23).
The coffins bearing the remains of the victims arrived in a Royal Thai Air Force Hercules C130 plane which left Chiang Mai Military Airport at 10.55pm Tuesday (Dec 22) and arrived at the base at 3.30am.
An RMAF Hercules C130 touched down minutes later with the next-of-kin of the deceased and a 61-year-old female survivor.
Volunteers from the Taiwan Tzu Chi Foundation Malaysia were at the base to comfort the bereaved family members.
The caskets were brought out of the plane with the last one at about 4.20am. Each were placed in a hearse which later made their journey to Batu Pahat, Johor where all the victims came from.
Among those present at the RMAF base were Gerakan president Datuk Mah Siew Keong and Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA) vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun.
Mah, who is Minister in the Prime Minister's Department, said the female survivor was found to be in stable condition by medical personnel.
"The Selangor Health Director will assess and decide if she should be sent to Hospital Sungai Buloh or to Batu Pahat. She was one out of nine injured passengers in the bus. Eight are receiving treatment in Thailand, five of whom are still in critical condition," he told reporters.
"A medical team here is ready to treat all the survivors. But on medical advice, they are being treated in Thailand and only one is coming back," Mah said a Gerakan branch chairman and a family of four who were on a holiday died in the crash.
"We all feel the pain. This is really an unfortunate accident. We are working with the Thai authorities to render assistance to the injured. We feel sad, sympathetic and will do what we can," he said, while extending his condolences to the families of the victims.
Declining to comment on the details of the bus crash, Mah told reporters that Thai authorities are still investigating the accident.
Chew, who is Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister, said the ministry would provide assistance to the victims including counselling.
"I talked to the family members and it seems that they could accept what happened. They are okay and quite calm," she added.