A bus driver who suffered a fatal heart attack behind the wheel managed to save the lives of 20 tourists by applying the handbrake to slow the vehicle down moments before it crashed.
The incident took place in George Town in the north-western Malaysian state of Penang when 64-year-old bus driver Lee Kim Thai was taking 20 Chinese tourists to the Penang International Airport from their hotel at around 5.50am.
He was turning onto Hutton Road when he suddenly suffered a heart attack and applied the handbrake, slowing the bus down before it hit the grilled entrance of a shop.
Local media said that all the passengers were unhurt and managed to make their flight back to China.
Eyewitness Pang Hen Kim, 65, said: “I came to the shop at around 3am to prepare food for my stall. Suddenly, I heard a bang but it was not very loud.
“When I went to have a look, I saw a tour guide coming down from the bus and said he had called the emergency services. I believe no one was injured as the passengers looked calm.
“The police told us the bus driver had managed to apply the handbrake before the crash and the bus was moving at a slow speed.”
Police spokesperson Soffian Santong said that an autopsy showed that the driver died of a heart attack caused by coronary artery disease (CAD), a condition which affects the arteries that supply the heart with blood.
The victim’s wife Liew told local media that her husband was diagnosed with heart disease several months ago, but refused to take his medication regularly.
She added: “He complained that he could not sleep well the night before.”
Liew said her husband had been a bus driver for over a decade.
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