IT was raining cats and dogs early in the morning and the two drivers could not see that a ditch was ahead.
The first driver bumped into the safety barricades lining the ditch and fell into the 2m ditch dug for cabling works.
The second vehicle careened into the ditch 15 minutes later.
Both drivers escaped with minor injuries in the incident in Bandar Baru Air Itam at about 6am yesterday.
George Town OCPD Asst Comm Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said both drivers could not see clearly when they went into the ditch.
“Traffic was slow and these two cars, said to be turning into Jalan Thean Teik, were cutting the queue before they landed in the trench.
“Initial investigations found there were no proper road signs to indicate roadworks ahead.
“We are still investigating,” he said when contacted.
Meanwhile, Penang TNB chief engineer Ismail Lathifi Teh said Farlim Group Bhd had applied for the permit from Public Works Department (JKR) to dig a trench in Jalan Thean Teik to realign underground cables.
He said the contractor had complied with the JKR safety requirements prior to the accident.
“This is the first accident since the start of the project,” he said at a press conference at the state assembly building.
“TNB is tasked with monitoring to ensure that works by the contractor complies with JKR safety requirements,” Ismail Lathifi said.
“The dark morning and heavy rain possibly contributed to the accident.
“We have instructed the developer to stop work and fill the trench.
“Work can only continue after they present a ‘method statement’ on how to prevent such an accident from happening again.
“They have to take extra measures,” he said.
It is learnt that the trench was about 8m in length, 5m wide and 2m deep.
Also present at the press conference were state Works, Utilities and Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng and Paya Terubong assemblyman Yeoh Soon Hin.