A Fire and Rescue Department official said the incident occurred before noon near Pos Slim, about 5km from Simpang Pulai, near here. Over 100 rescue personnel were sent to the to the scene at around noon.
“Rescue efforts are still ongoing. We believe at least 26 people died,” he told reporters just hours after the accident occured.
Perak deputy police chief Datuk Zakaria Yusof later told reporters that 22 died on the spot while another four died on the way to the hospital here. A fifth victim succumbed at the hospital later.
All but two of the 27 casualties were foreigners.
He said the double-decker bus operated by the San Express Holiday tour company based in Jitra, Kedah, was carrying 37 Thai tourists and three locals, including the bus driver and assistant driver.
When contacted, San Express Holiday managing director Sor Eng Hock, currently in Bangkok on business, said: “I am very sad ... I am shocked.”
According to Zakaria, the bus was headed to Kuala Lumpur from Cameron Highlands, and it was believed that the tourists were to have flown to Bangkok from Kuala Lumpur.
Zakaria said preliminary investigations indicated that the driver lost control of the bus before the vehicle hit the road divider, crashed onto the opposite lane and overturned.
There has been a series of bus accidents in the country lately, leading to calls for better enforcement of laws on speeding and quality of buses.
Some of the approaches to the highlands are narrow, windy and treacherous, but today's accident occurred when the bus was on a highway.
This post has been edited by Randomization: Dec 21 2010, 09:10 AM