Three people were injured while at least one person died after a 30-metre wide ramp of the under-construction Second Penang Bridge in Batu Maung collapsed at about 7:15pm last night.
Penang deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar, could not confirm the exact number of fatalities as there were conflicting claims on the number of vehicles buried under the debris. Abdul Rahim said three people were injured.
Two of them were an Indonesian worker identified only as Slamat, 36, and a Myanmar national, Tin Maung Iwin, 39.They were sent to the Penang Hospital for treatment and were in stable condition. The third person injured was a local woman, Thilasheni Rajendran, 24, who was injured by flying debris while driving through the affected area.
At about 12:40am, a four-man team from the Special Team Operation and Response Mechanism (STORM) reportedly found the body of an occupant of a car believed to be a Kelisa.
Abdul Rahim said more than 300 Fire and Rescue, police, Civil Defence, St Johns and Malaysian Red Crescent personnel were involved in the search and rescue operation. Efforts by the contractors to lift the collapsed concrete beams were futile, forcing the team to engage a bigger crane.
Abdul Rahim said construction works have been temporarily halted while a road in the vicinity has been closed to traffic.
The three-tiered exit ramp near the Mini Circuits Technologies factory, linked to the Tun Lim Chong Eu Expressway, that collapsed was meant for traffic heading towards towards Bayan Lepas. There is another exit ramp being built for traffic heading towards George Town.
Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) public relations and communications department deputy manager Azizi Azizan said the collapsed portion is part of Package 3A of the Second Penang Bridge project. He said the incident occurred while concrete pouring works were ongoing. “It collapsed when the scaffolding supporting the area gave way”, he said.
Azizi said JKSB would issue a detailed statement today, as they were investigating the incident.
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).
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who visited the site, said the parties responsible must be taken to task. “I understand that the concrete had not set and yet, motorists were allowed to pass through. This shouldn’t be the case”, he said.