Neither the driver of the minibus nor any of the nine passengers from the US and various European countries was seriously injured, but the bus itself was badly damaged.
The smash took place at kilometre 106 of the main Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan Highway, just north of Penang.
Dmitriy Kolot from the Ukraine told Malaysian police that he was asleep in the front passenger seat of the minibus when he was jolted violently awake and found himself covered in granules of glass. He received scratches and bruises to his left hand and right leg.
In his statement to police, a copy of which was obtained by The Phuket News’ sister Russian-language publication Novosti Phuketa, Mr Kolot said, “I don’t know [what happened] because I was asleep … The driver [named in the report as Atthaphol Prakongsuk] stopped the van and asked me what happened. I said I didn’t know.”
Mr Kolot added that the driver had earlier been hitting speeds of 110 to 120 kmh, sitting in the fast lane and flashing at slower vehicles to move out of the way.
Talking with Novosti Phuketa, Mr Kolot said, “The driver had been walking around the van for five minutes and only after that went back along the road and learned that he’d hit a motorcyclist. He came back in deep shock.”
The visa run company, KBV, provided another minibus and driver to take the passengers on to Penang. The driver of the crashed minibus was arrested by Malaysian police.
KBV visa run company owner Peeyagon Adeetepwalankul was reluctant to speak about the crash, but told The Phuket News she was confident the driver was not drink-driving or under the influence of drugs at the time of the crash because this would be against company policy.
She said it was also company policy that drivers got enough sleep before driving, so were not tired on a long trip.