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IPOH: A tour bus heading to Gerik rammed into a bull elephant on the East-West Highway near here early today, killing the 12-year-old animal.
The bus driver, Eng Koon Seng, 62, and the 32 passengers were unhurt in the accident that happened at 5.30am at Km59 of the highway about five kilometres from the Titiwangsa Rest and Service Area, said Gerik Police deputy chief DSP Mohd Sohaimi Ishak.
He said the bus, heading from Jeli to Gerik, hit the elephant while descending a gradient. The animal had emerged from the right side of the road and ran across it, he added.
“The driver could not stop the vehicle in time to avoid hitting the elephant. The animal collapsed and then got up and walked to the grass on the road shoulder and died,” he said in a statement here today.
He said the elephant was injured in the head and body while the bus had a shattered windscreen and a huge dent at the front.
Mohd Sohaimi said the Department of Wildlife and National Parks had been informed.
Perak Department of Wildlife and National Parks (Perhilitan) director Loo Kean Seong said department officers went to the scene immediately after they were alerted of the incident at about 5.30am.
Loo said the pachyderm’s remains will be sent for a post-mortem to establish cause of death.
He urged motorists to be cautious while driving along the highway as several areas along the highway is the habitat of the elephants.
This is the second time an elephant has been killed on the Gerik-Jeli highway this year.
On June 19, a teacher who panicked when she came across a herd of elephants crashed into a calf at KM43.6 of the highway.
Gerik police chief Supt Ismail Che Isa said the incident occurred at about 2.30am when the teacher Aznida Alias, 49, was travelling from Tanah Merah, Kelantan to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) in Arau, Perlis.
“It was pitch dark and the victim, who was driving a car did not expect to see a herd of elephants in the middle of the road.
“As the elephants were so close to her car, she could not avoid hitting and killing one of them. She then headed for the nearest police station to make a report,” he told Bernama.
He said the teacher, her husband and their three children who were in the car, escaped unhurt.