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Monday December 7, 2009

Two killed in freak car mishap at shopping mall in Kota Baru

KOTA BARU: Two shoppers were killed after a runaway car in an open air parking lot of a mall smashed through a retaining wall before plunging down three stories onto an escalator.

Another shopper was seriously injured in the freak accident that occurred at 4.45pm when the mall in Jalan Hamzah was packed with weekend patrons.

Nurain Said, who was driving the car when it plunged, miraculously survived the 54m fall.

Sandwiched: The wrecked car lying in between two escalators after the fall in a mall in Kota Baru Sunday. — SAZUKI EMBONG / The Star

The dead have been identified as trainee nurses Siti Nuramira Shamsuddin, 19, and Siti Nurdiana Azman, 18, from a local college. Both died on the spot after being hit by falling debris.

District OCPD Asst Comm Zahruddin Abdullah said the first driver of the car – identified only as Sabri – had earlier got out of the vehicle, which had stalled at the parking lot.

He said Sabri then told his 17-year-old sister Nurain to get behind the wheel while he pushed the car in an attempt to jumpstart the engine.

ACP Zahruddin said while Sabri was pushing the car, the engine suddenly started, causing the car to lunge forward and smash into the retaining wall, which also served as the building’s ventilation airway.

He said Siti Nuramira who was on the second floor of the building and Siti Nurdiana who was standing on the ground floor, close to the escalator, could have died after being crushed by concrete debris.

The victims: A combo picture of Siti Nuramira (left) and Siti Nurdia na who were killed Sunday.

“We are looking for Sabri and another woman identified as Nurul Atikah to help in the investigations,” ACP Zahruddin added.

Meanwhile, Siti Nuramira’s father Shamsuddin Abdul Rahman, 52, said she had asked him to deposit RM50 into her bank account before the incident.

“The last time I saw her was during the Aidiladha celebrations. She called me three times the day before the incident to enquire about my well-being.

“There was nothing strange about her. She only informed me that she needed some money and asked me to bank in RM50 for her. That was it,” he said when met at the mortuary at the Raja Perempuan Zainab II Hospital here last night.

Shamsuddin said he did not realise it was the last request his daughter, who was the third of six children, made. The family was from Felda Chiku, Gua Musang.

A witness, Hazura Ariffin, 25, said she heard a loud bang that shook the build­ing.

“I thought it was an earthquake. I was shocked to see the wrecked car lying in the middle of the mall between the escalators,” she said.

Another witness, Johan Salleh, 47, said he was on the ground floor and saw the car plunging down.

“I was able to drag my son away but he remained traumatised,” he said.

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