Sunday, June 16, 2013

Search called off for victim of Penang freak storm

Rescue workers have now called off the search for a man believed buried in his car after a freak storm toppled a lightning arrestor pole in Jalan Macalister, George Town, last Thursday.

Family members agreed to end the operation after being briefed of the constraints and difficulties faced by the search team. They were also told that the building structures nearby may be at risk if the digging continued, The Star news portal reported.

At 7.30am today, the rear seat of a car and a tyre were recovered from the site, some 40 hours after the search operation began. The car has been identified as belonging to Lim Chin Aik, 44, who has been reported missing.

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On Sunday, the search and rescue team found three tyres, including a spare, while digging in search of victims believed buried at the site.

Penang Fire Department director Azmi Tamat said yesterday that rescuers had yet to figure out the exact location of Lim's car.

Azmi said the search and rescue operation to find the car on Sunday evening was hampered as rain had been pouring down since 10.30pm, causing the area where the car was believed to be buried to be covered in mud.

"We don't know the exact location of the car when the mishap occurred. If the pole collapsed right onto the car, it would probably have crushed the vehicle into pieces and we don't know the condition of the car or the driver," he told reporters at the scene.

On Saturday, Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi confirmed that the car's chassis number found under the rubble at the scene matched that of food hawker Lim's car. He said the discovery could unravel the case of a 44-year-old man who was reported missing since the incident, which occurred on Thursday. The victim who drove a grey Honda City had gone to pick up his youngest daughter from the Penang Chinese Girls High School in Jalan Gottlieb about 6.30pm that day.

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