Woman’s car crushed by tree just weeks after purchase

Loh checking the damaged parts of her new car which she bought just a few weeks ago, at the scene where two trees fell down in Macalister Road, Penang. — CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: Company executive Karen Loh drove to a cafe in her new car, which she bought just weeks earlier, anticipating a lovely breakfast on a Saturday morning.

Just minutes into chowing down, she heard a loud sound, and people around her started screaming.

“I dashed out of the cafe, just like the others. To my horror, I found my car crushed under a fallen tree.

“I could not believe my eyes, as I had only bought it less than a month ago,” said Loh, 39.

Loh, who had parked her car in the hotel parking lot where the cafe is located, said she was devastated to see the vehicle become a wreck. However, she was thankful that she was not inside the car when the tree collapsed.

“And luckily, it happened on a less busy day; otherwise, it could have been worse,” she said.

A huge angsana tree on the left side of the one-way Jalan Macalister uprooted and fell during a downpour at about 10am yesterday.

The tree toppled across the road and crushed another angsana tree, which then fell into the compound of the parking lot, damaging four cars that were parked there.

There was no one on the scene at the time, so no injuries occurred. Both the trees are believed to be about 100 years old.

It was a near-death escape for a woman and her son when she hit the brakes of the MPV she was driving to avoid the uprooted tree that nearly crushed her vehicle.

The woman, in her 30s, who was in the MPV with her son, believed to be between six and eight years old, said she was driving along Jalan Macalister when she noticed the huge uprooted angsana tree about to fall.

“I saw the tree and realised that it was about to come down. So, I immediately hit my brakes and we nearly missed getting crushed under the uprooted tree,” she told reporters at the scene of the incident yesterday.

She said she is thankful that despite the terrifying incident, she and her son, who were both wearing their seat belts, emerged unscathed from the harrowing ordeal that happened at about 10am yesterday.

The woman, who was still in shock when reporters approached her, declined to comment further as she was seen sobbing and hugging a man believed to be related to her.

Another motorist, Annie Chuah, 45, who had also parked her car at the hotel parking lot, said, “The side mirror is broken and the roof and a door are damaged.”

But she said that she was grateful that she was safe.

Chuah, who was also having breakfast at the hotel cafe, was shaken by the mishap.

As a result, she said she would rest at home.

She added that she would also lodge a police report soon and get her car fixed.

The incident is the second one this week.

On Tuesday, a man died and two others were injured after a giant tree fell onto Jalan Sultan Ismail in Kuala Lumpur, damaging 17 vehicles.

The 47-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a related development, the Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability Ministry said a holistic approach would be taken to address the danger of falling trees in urban areas and its possible connection to climate change.

Minister Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said research into the sudden surge of falling trees would be conducted immediately and involve the Forestry Department.
"While local authorities have their own guidelines, we will have to look at the issue as a whole along with the department for feedback.
"While different people may have different views on the need to fell overgrown trees, the issue of public safety must be prioritised.
"Ideally, we want to preserve as many trees as possible as it takes many years to replace one but if it causes harm, then steps must be taken," he said after launching the Alam Be-Leaf Mangrove Planting Programme 2024 in Klang today.

Nik Nazmi also acknowledged the possibility of climate change playing a part in the recent uptick in trees falling in urban areas around the country.
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