GEORGE TOWN: The efforts of the search and recovery (SAR) team to retrieve an SUV which plunged into the sea after an accident on the Penang Bridge were stymied today by rapid waters which prevented them from lifting the vehicle from the sea.
First Admiral (Maritime) Rozali Mohd Said, who is in charge of the SAR operation, said they had attempted to lift the car from the channel with a crane at least three times this morning.
“But we failed to get the car up as the waters were moving rapidly at seven to 10 knots (13 to 19km/h),” he said in a statement.
“We have postponed our plans to 3pm when we expect slack water.”
SAR personnel, who had established a 15.25m-radius search area, will likely attempt to lift the car from the water and onto a barge.
The driver of the white Mazda CX-5 SUV is believed to be Moey Yun Peng, a 20-year-old college student from Taman Kempas in Butterworth.
His parents filed a missing person report yesterday, informing the police that he drove the same type of car. A family member said Moey had been driving alone.
A dashcam video recording of the incident showed a speeding black Toyota Vios crashing into the SUV on the fast lane.
The SAR teams employed a special sonar device known as the Teledyne T20 to look for the car.
A total of 108 people, including 38 divers, and 14 small ships from different agencies took part in the operation to search for the vehicle.
Meanwhile, Seberang Perai Tengah district police chief ACP Nik Ros Azhan Nik Abdul Hamid said the statements of eight people had been recorded in connection with the accident.
He said the eight were friends of the victims who had attended a birthday party prior to the accident, witnesses at the scene, and family members of the driver whose car had fallen into the sea.
“Police will also record statements from several other people, including a man who recorded the incident, and the other driver involved in the accident once he completes his treatment at a private hospital in Bayan Baru,” he said.
Once the investigation paper is finalised, it will be sent to the deputy public prosecutor for further action.