One confirmed dead in bridge collapse in Penang

One confirmed dead in bridge collapse in Penang
BATU MAUNG: Fire and Rescue Department has confirmed that one body has been spotted after part of the under-construction Second Penang Bridge collapsed early this evening.

According to assistant commissioner Mohamad Shoki Hamzah, as at 12.30am, the search and rescue team has sighted the body through the use of a search camera.

"We pushed in a searchcam through the crevaces and we saw a body," he told Astro AWANI.

Mohamad Shoki said that he estimates the extraction of the body to take at least two hours.

On initial reports about four feared dead or three injured, Mohamad Shoki said that the rumours were inaccurate at this moment.
In the incident at about 7.15pm, a concrete slab, of about 30 metres and weighing more than 1,000 tonnes, crashed down to the ground near Batu Maung.

Confirmed burried under the rubble was a Perodua Kelisa but it is not known the number of people trapped within the debris.

It was understood that two victims in a Perodua Myvi managed to survive a near miss. The two girls earlier told Astro AWANI that they were three seconds away from being burried under the rubble as well.

One of the girls was injured after a metal debris flew into the car and hit her leg.

The exact cause of the incident, which only involves the part of the bridge over land, is yet to be established.

A 'crane' is being used to lift parts of the debris in the search and rescue effort. Earlier, several fire bridgade trucks were rushed to the scene at about 7pm.

It is understood that work on this package of the bridge has stopped momentarily, but construction on the remaining of the packages is not thought to be affected.

Bayan Baru Member of Parliament, Sim Tze Tzin who happened to be at the location told through his Twitter account that the structure had collapsed.

He said at least one or two cars were ruined as a result from the collapse.

Sim also said the Fire and Rescue Department is beginning their search and rescue procedure.

The bridge, which connects Batu Kawan on the mainland to Batu Maung on the island, is expected to be completed September this year.

The RM4.5 billion bridge, a project under the Ninth Malaysia Plan, will also provide easier access to the Penang International Airport in Bayan Lepas.

The construction of the second bridge commenced on Nov 8, 2008. It comprises 16.8 km of bridge structure above the sea and 6.8km on land.