GEORGE TOWN • Malaysian rescuers yesterday retrieved the sports utility vehicle (SUV) that plunged into the sea from the Penang Bridge in a tragic accident on Sunday, with the body of its driver inside.
The badly-mangled car was hoisted using four cables attached to a crane yesterday evening. The operation took about 20 minutes.
The recovery team grew solemn upon seeing a lifeless body, believed to be that of 20-year-old college student Moey Yun Peng, inside the car.
The SUV had plunged into the sea after a collision with a black car in the early hours on Sunday around the 4km point of the bridge linking Penang island with the mainland part of the state.
Footage from a dashboard camera obtained by Bernama news agency showed a black Toyota Vios being driven on the mainland-bound side before colliding with a white Mazda CX-5 SUV, causing the SUV to swerve into the barricade and plunge off the 13.5km bridge.
The first attempt to lift the 1.5-tonne car, submerged at a depth of 15m, failed when the harness snapped. Divers then used a larger harness to bring the car up.
"We had to wait until the tide was at the lowest and the current slowed down, before we could safely dive in and strap the car," said one of the recovery personnel on the bridge, who declined to be named.
Many curious onlookers gathered at the vicinity of the operation.
Police investigations revealed that the 21-year-old driver of the Toyota Vios tested positive for cannabis.
Tests are still being carried out to determine if the driver was also drunk at the time of the incident.
Police investigations revealed that both drivers had been childhood friends "but they were not close", said Mr Moey's sister-in-law.
The two drivers had earlier attended a friend's birthday party at a club in Chulia Street in George Town.
It was a heart-wrenching scene on Monday at the marine police base in Batu Uban, where Mr Moey's family members had gathered.
A woman, believed to be his mother, was heard crying aloud: "When are you coming home?"
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK