Three people were killed and 14 others injured after a coach operated by Singapore's Grassland Express & Tours lost control and crashed into a hauler truck on a Malaysian highway early yesterday.
The bus, carrying 25 passengers and two drivers, was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore when the accident happened at about 2.30am on the North-South Expressway, according to an initial report by Muar traffic police in Johor.
The truck was transporting steel rods when the bus rear-ended it at high speed, causing the rods to pierce through the windscreen and left flank of the bus, Malaysia's China Press said.
One of the victims, a 25-year-old woman identified by police as Ms Lai Moon Ching, is believed to be a Singapore permanent resident.
Singapore evening dailies Shin Min Daily News and Lianhe Wanbao said Ms Lai, a Malaysian, worked at a technology company in Singapore and was originally from Kulai, Johor.
Lianhe Wanbao said the woman's family rushed to a hospital in Muar after receiving news of her death and has declined all media queries.
Police said 12 accident victims were taken to Sultanah Fatimah Specialist Hospital in Muar while five were taken to Sultanah Nora Ismail Hospital in Batu Pahat.
According to police, the two other victims who died were a 61-year-old Malaysian woman named Lim Siew Kee and an unidentified Chinese man in his 40s.
All three victims suffered head injuries after being flung out of the bus on impact and it is understood that Ms Lai died on the spot. Muar police said two of the victims died en route to hospital.
Bus driver Zamris Abdul Aziz, 54, also suffered slight injuries, while truck driver Rubanthiran Vasu, 28, escaped unhurt.
Police said most of the passengers were Malaysian, but there were four Singaporeans on board.
According to Lianhe Wanbao, a family of four passengers from Singapore were travelling with their Indonesian maid. Three out of the five were slightly injured.
Grassland, which is based in Singapore, operates many coach services plying routes between Singapore and various Malaysian cities.
A Grassland spokesman left early yesterday morning for the two hospitals to help all the affected passengers. Two of Grassland's emergency hotline staff in Johor also rushed to the scene to help.
The spokesman told The Straits Times that the family of four and their Indonesian maid were unwilling to take a bus back to Singapore after the accident, so he was making arrangements to help them return home by car.
• Additional reporting by Gilaine Ng and Nadirah H. Rodzi