Tragedy hits four in highway race

GEORGE TOWN: A gruesome sight of lifeless bodies on the mangled wrecks of at least five motorcycles emerged here even before dawn broke.

This came about following a tragic accident on the island-bound side of the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway at about 4am yesterday.

It claimed four lives – Muhammad Shazwan Hakim Mohd Abdul Sani, 22, Muhammad Eizreel Muhamad Roszaidi, 25, Ahmad Haikal Naif Ahmad Nazrul,19, and Muhammad Harith Zikri Yusnizar, 17.

Three others – Mohd Haziq Harris, 34, Muhammad Rahimi Shukor, 19, and Muhammad Shazwan Hafiz Mohd Abdul Sani, 22, are being treated at Penang Hospital.

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Video clips of barefoot bodies – the shoes believed to have flung off due to the collisions – emerged early yesterday on social media.

Some videos showed people struggling to lift motorcycles off the victims as they lay lifeless.

Island-bound traffic from the Penang Bridge came to a standstill, as seen in a video.

Speed kills: The expressway blocked on the island-bound side.Speed kills: The expressway blocked on the island-bound side.

One video showed a motorcyclist crashing into a car from the rear as the motorcycle disintegrated on impact.

Another showed motorcyclists racing along the expressway in the wee hours of yesterday morning.

Apparently, hundreds of motorcyclists had gathered on the island the night before for joyrides and possibly street races.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong in a statement said the police received a call about the accident at around 4.30am.

“Based on preliminary investigations, we found that several motorcycles were suspected to have been involved in illegal racing activities.

“It is believed that several motorcyclists lost control and crashed into each other,” he said.

During the accident, he said two cars were rammed from behind by the motorcyclists who took part in the race.

“Seven victims have been found to be involved in the accident. Four were confirmed dead, with three dead at the scene while one died at Penang Hospital.

“Three other victims are still receiving treatment at the hospital with one in critical condition and the other two in the yellow zone (semi critical),” he said.

ACP Soffian said all the victims involved in the accident were from Penang and Kedah.

He said there were earlier patrols to check on illegal racing.

“There were plans to catch these racers but the incident happened before it was carried out,” he said.

ACP Soffian said the incident was being investigated under Section 41(1) of the Road Transport Act for reckless driving resulting in death.

He said the public should not be involved in illegal racing which not only endangered their lives but the safety of other road users as well.

It was a solemn sight at the Penang Hospital mortuary as family members of the deceased gathered there.

Mashitah Md Isa, 44, who is still grieving from the loss of her 20-year-old son three months ago, yesterday lost her eldest son Muhammad Shazwan Hakim, as well.

The housewife told a news portal that Muhammad Shazwan Hakim’s twin brother, Muhammad Shazwan Hafiz, was also involved in the accident and is being treated at the Penang Hospital.

“Shazwan Hakim was very close to his family. He always brought gifts for all of us,” she said, adding that he would be buried in Batu Maung here.

Mashitah said Shazwan Hakim got engaged five months ago.

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