Forklift falls into hole after road collapses

Passers-by standing near the forklift which is partly submerged in a large hole along Jalan Macalister in Penang.

GEORGE TOWN - Part of the road in front of the Pakistani Mosque collapsed, causing a forklift which was exiting the area to fall into the hole in Jalan Macalister here.

Komtar assemblyman Teh Lai Heng said that a worker was using the forklift, which belonged to a Penang Municipal Council contractor, for work to repave the pavement, replace the drain culverts and repair the entrance wall of the mosque.

"The work, which had started on Aug 12 and was estimated to cost RM100,000 (S$38,700), will take about two months but we hope to complete it by the end of the month.

"We decided to start work after cracks were found on the wall and the pavement became uneven following the search and rescue effort for 44-year-old economy rice seller Lim Chin Aik," he said at the scene yesterday.

Lim's remains are believed to be buried deep in Jalan Macalister here, where a lightning arrester from the 21-storey Menara Umno had snapped off and fallen during a freak storm on June 13.

He was presumed dead when pieces of his car, along with a plate bearing the car's chassis number, were found in the crater that resulted from the arrester impacting the ground.

Mosque imam Mohd Rafi M.A. Sinthas, 43, said that he was talking to his friends in the mosque compound yesterday when the incident happened.

"The forklift was being driven out of the mosque when it fell into the hole. Everything happened so quickly."

"The driver was not injured and an excavator was used to pull it out of the hole," he said, adding that it took about 20 minutes.