Friday, 7 June 2013

Four feared dead after a ramp linking Penang expressway collapses

Four people were feared killed when a section of the ramp connecting the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to the second Penang bridge in Batu Maung collapsed.

The section, which fell onto at least one lane of the expressway, was believed to have buried two passing cars and a motorcycle under its debris.

Police said initial information revealed that the four victims in a car were feared dead.

Balik Pulau deputy OCPD Supt Lai Fah Hin confirmed that a car was found smashed.

Penang deputy police chief Senior Asst Comm Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said three people were injured. The incident, which occurred during rush hour at 7pm yesterday, caused a massive traffic jam.

Hundreds of rescue workers, including firemen, voluntary fire-fighters and Civil Defence Department personnel, were removing the rubble.

At press time, a motorcyclist had been pulled out of the rubble. He sustained injuries to his head.

Bridge concessionaire Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd public relations and communications deputy manager Azizi Azizan said the segment which collapsed was being cast at that time.

He said it happened after the scaffolding supporting it collapsed.

He added that investigations were being carried out to find out why both structures collapsed.

He said the segment was part of one of three ramps at the interchange linking the expressway to the bridge.

Azizi said two cranes were being used in the rescue efforts.

He added that further details would be provided today.

Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who was at the scene, said a 30m-long span of the ramp was believed to have collapsed.

At 9.20pm, state executive councillor Lim Hock Seng said the authorities had yet to confirm the cause of the accident.

Traffic policemen were deployed to the scene to direct traffic and the section of the expressway has been closed to facilitate rescue work.

Motorist R. Thilasheni, 24, whose car windscreen was shattered by a falling beam in the incident, was still in a state of shock.

“We were only three seconds away when the ramp collapsed. We were lucky to have come out alive,” she added.

She was travelling with her friend G. Gajashaantini, 24, at that time.

The RM4.4bil 24km-long bridge is scheduled for completion next month.

It will be the longest bridge in South-East Asia and the 20th longest in the world when completed. It is scheduled to go through road commissioning and testing in August before being officially opened in September.


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