Residents use rocks to smash windows to rescue trapped Singapore tourists in Penang van crash
Residents used rocks to smash the windows of a van to rescue trapped tourists from Singapore after their vehicle plunged into a ravine in Penang on Sunday night, killing one woman.
Nepalese worker Tilak Ale, 33, said he and two others quickly rushed to the scene when they heard about the accident at around 8pm. He saw the van – which had 11 people, including 10 tourists on board – down a 6m-deep ravine.
The accident was said to have happened while the van was descending the hill after the tourists had dinner at the Bukit Genting Hill Leisure Park and Restaurant.
They were supposed to board a waiting bus at the foot of the hill to return to their hotel.
The van hit a boulder and turned turtle at the site, which was a five-minute drive from the Thai restaurant, Mr Ale told Chinese-language daily Shin Min Daily News.
The doors were crushed and could not be opened.
“I heard the cries of people trapped inside the vehicle,” Mr Ale said. He and two others carefully made their way down the steep ravine, which was slippery due to rain on Sunday morning.
They picked up big stones, which they used to smash the windows of the van, and managed to rescue four of the occupants. “Among them was an old man whose arm was bleeding,” said Mr Ale.
A 62-year-old Singaporean woman was killed in the accident, while the others were injured and taken to hospital.
The injured tourists are Singaporean, except for a Malaysian residing in Singapore. The driver is Malaysian.
Seri Balik Pulau fire and rescue station operations chief N. Prenavaran said rescuers were at the location 10 minutes after they were alerted to the accident at 8.20pm.
He said their vehicles could not reach the victims due to the hilly terrain, so rescuers had to go down the ravine on foot with stretchers and emergency equipment.
“We had to use special equipment to cut the dashboard and steering wheel of the van to extricate a female victim who was stuck next to the driver’s seat,” national news agency Bernama quoted Mr Prenavaran as saying.
The tourists were part of a larger 29-person group in Penang for a holiday and to catch getai duo Xie Wen and Bao En. It is understood that they organised the trip themselves.
Penang tourism and creative economy committee chairman Wong Hon Wai told The Straits Times that he visited two of the victims, both women aged 57, at Penang General Hospital. He said they sustained bone fractures and needed CT scans, but were otherwise in stable condition.
“Another two victims are warded in a private hospital, and they are also in a stable condition,” Mr Wong said, adding that the remaining six have been discharged and are resting at their hotel.