AN eatery customer escaped with minor injuries after falling into a manhole in Kimberley Street in George Town, Penang.
Richard Ang, 62, was left with abrasions on his left thigh and left hand after the 6pm incident on Sunday.
He said he had wanted to buy dinner at one of the shops along the road where upgrading works were being carried out.
“Construction materials are scattered along the stretch where upgrading works are being carried out on both sides of the road.
“Although there are signs that indicate construction works are ongoing at both ends of the road, there is no warning sign in the middle of the construction site to tell the public that the place is off-limits.
“There are also scattered construction materials along the constructed pavement. I couldn’t go across and the manhole with the metal cover was the only way to get to the shop. I stepped on the manhole which I thought was already stabilised.
“It gave way and I fell into the 1m-deep drain,” said Ang, a part-time journalist of The Star who was on duty that day.
Ang said he shouted for help before one of the shop owners and his friend came to pull him to safety.
“I am just relieved that nothing serious happened to me. It could have been much worse,” he said, adding that the relevant authorities should put up cones or other road furniture to warn the public.
A check by The Star at the site found that a plank and a barrier were already placed at the manhole where Ang had fallen.
Meanwhile, Penang Island City Council (MBPP) councillor Wong Yuee Harng said he had informed the council’s Engineering Department to conduct housekeeping and enhance the safety measures at the site.
“The engineer in charge of the project will look into ways to enhance the safety aspect for the convenience of all parties,” he said.
Wong said pavement works in front of shoplots and food outlets would be given priority in order to shorten the work duration for public safety and minimising disruption to residents and shop owners.
He said the council regretted the incident, and urged the victim to lodge a police report and write to the council’s Engineering Department for insurance claim purposes.