Thursday February 14, 2013
Officer meets watery death
By LEONARD PHANG
KUCHING: An officer of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) was killed after his car plunged into a shaft being built at Jalan Ajibah Abol in the third fatal accident involving the cityís centralised sewerage development project.
Paul Primus, 25, from Johor was entering Jalan Ajibah Abol from Jalan Market when the accident occurred yesterday.
An eyewitness who wanted to be known only as Azam, 37, from Jalan Astana, said he saw the accident unfolding right before him because he was then having a drink at a restaurant which was near the shaft.
ďIt was around 2.10am when I saw a Proton Saga crashing through the side-fencing at the corner of Jalan Ajibah Abol and went straight into the tunnel (shaft),Ē said Azam.
Azam said he was shocked and frightened by the sight of the car falling into the shaft that was easily 8m deep.
He said the rescue team from the Fire and Rescue Department summoned to the scene found themselves looking into a watery hole that was about a quarter full and that their quarry was trapped in a car that was already under water.
Despite their best efforts, the rescuers could only get Paul up to the surface at 3.50am but by then he had drowned, Azam said.
All the paramedics could do when Paul was placed on dry ground was to pronounce him dead.
Paulís remains were sent to the Sarawak General Hospital mortuary in a police truck.
A towing service called to the scene could only bring the car up at 5.20am.
The first death related to the project occurred on Feb 19, 2011, when a car crashed into a circular metal structure for the construction of the shaft at Ban Hock Road at about 3.30am.
Sim Khian Teck, 30, was killed on the spot, while the 41-year-old driver of the car sustained serious injuries but survived.
It is believed that the driver was unaware of the existence of the metal structure by the main road due to the ongoing construction of a sewerage system and crashed into it during heavy rain.
Then on Dec 1 that same year, Lau Chin Bu succumbed to his injuries at the Sarawak General Hospital about a week after he crashed into a crane parked at a project site at Jalan Nanas. The victim from Poh Kwong Park was riding home on his motorcycle at about 9pm when the accident occurred.
The massive project, officially called Kuching City Centralised Wastewater Management System, is being built by contractor Kumpulan Nishimatsu-Hock Seng Lee consortium (KNH).
The four-phase project is valued at RM3bil with the first phase costing RM530mil scheduled to be completed next year.
Besides the obvious dangers that the project poses for motorists, it has also led to public complaints about their unsightliness and damage to private property.