GEORGE TOWN - A search and rescue operation was underway on Sunday (Jan 20) after a vehicle plunged off the Penang Bridge and into the sea, following a collision with a car on the bridge linking Penang Island with the mainland side of the Malaysian state.
The accident occurred early on Sunday morning along KM4 on the mainland-bound side of the 13.5km bridge, Malaysia's official news agency Bernama reported.
The Perai Fire and Rescue department located on the mainland side of Penang was alerted to the accident at 2.35am.
"Rescuers found a car badly damaged but its driver only lightly injured," Bernama reported the Perai Fire and Rescue chief Azlan Hassan as saying.
A search and rescue operation involving the Marine police was underway, he said.
Bernama cited one witness, who was fishing from one of the pillars of the bridge with a friend at the time of the accident, as saying he saw the white sport utility vehicle (SUV) plunging into the sea but could not locate the victims afterwards, as it was too dark.
"We saw the car falling into the sea but everything happened so fast and it was dark. We shone our torchlights where it fell but did not see anyone," the agency cited the witness known as Azrul, who is in his 30s, as saying.
Azrul said he and his friend then alerted the Marine Police personnel who were patrolling the area.
Police later said they believe there was only one person in the SUV that plunged into the waters, Moey Yun Peng, a 20-year-old college student from Taman Kempas, Butterworth on mainland Penang.
The victim's father lodged a missing person report at 4.59pm on Sunday (Jan 20) after he was told that his son's vehicle had been involved in an accident along the bridge.
Central Seberang Prai police chief Nik Ros Azhan Nik Abdul Hamid said police had recorded statements from five people, including two of Moey's friends.
He said investigations revealed that Moey had just attended a birthday party on Penang island and could have been on his way home when the incident happened.
Assistant Commissioner of Police Nik Ros added that the driver of the black car that was seen hitting the SUV by a dashboard video camera, was 21 years old and he was sent to a hospital for treatment.
He said the incident is being investigated as reckless and dangerous driving.