Thursday, June 6, 2013
It has been 12 hours since the 30-metre wide ramp connecting the Second Penang Bridge in Batu Maung collapsed about 7pm yesterday, but rescuers were still struggling to extricate the bodies trapped underneath the 300-tonne concrete rubble.
The rescue team had to abort an earlier plan to lift up the rubble using a 45-tonne crane to enable the rescuers go underneath the collapsed ramp to reach out to the crushed Perodua Kelisa, as the structure was found to be unstable.
"The plan to lift up the rubble to enable the rescuers to go underneath the struggle and reach out to the crushed vehicle has been aborted."
"It may be even more dangerous as the possibility of the rubble to crumble was quite high," said a source.
He said as such, they had to resort to using hydraulic hammers to create holes in order to stabilise the rubble before lifting up major parts of the structure.
As of 7am today, the authorities have yet to ascertain the exact number of fatalities, except for the driver of the white-colour Perodua Kelisa.
However, it was reported earlier that three other motorists were trapped under the rubble but their fate is still unknown.
In the 7.15pm incident yesterday, three people were injured when the ramp of the under-construction flyover at the Batu Maung intersection collapsed.
Two of the injured victim were an Indonesian worker identified only as Slamat, 36, and an a Myanmar national, Tin Maung Iwin, 39.
They were sent to the Penang Hospital for treatment and were in stable condition.
The third person was a local woman, Thilasheni Rajendran, 24, who was injured by flying debris while driving through the area.
More than 300 Fire and Rescue, police, civil defence, St Johns and Malaysian Red Crescent personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation.
Construction works have been temporarily halted while a road in the vicinity has been closed to traffic.
The three-tiered exit ramp linked to the Tun Lim Chong Eu Expressway, was meant for traffic heading towards Bayan Lepas.
There is another exit ramp being built for traffic heading towards George Town.
The bridge is being constructed by UEM Builders Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of the UEM Group Malaysia, as well as China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), a subsidiary of the China Construction & Communications Group (CCCG).