Kart raceT RAGEDY
KUANTAN: A man and his fiveyear-old daughter were killed while his wife and son were among several others injured after a race-kart went off the track and ploughed into spectators during a race at I ndera Mahkota, near here yesterday.
Izwan Isa, 39, died at the scene in the 11.30am incident and his daughter Nur Zulaikha succumbed to her injuries at Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital. Both had sustained severe head injuries.
Izwan’s wife Siti Suhaiza Seman and seven-year-old son Muhammad Izz Danial sustained serious injuries. At least five other people were reportedly injured in the incident during the Education Innovation Motorsports and Automotive Race (Eimarace) at the Sukpa Complex.
The tragedy occurred when a kart apparently went out of control and crashed into plastic barriers placed along the race track.
In an immediate reaction, Eimarace director Prof Aminuddin Abu said the spectators who were involved in the i ncident should not have been standing behind the plastic barriers which was a restricted area.
“We express our condolences to
the affected family. (But) the spectators were in a restricted area and brought this upon themselves. Spectators are supposed to sit at the allocated area,” he said.
Aminuddin said the event organisers will enhance safety aspects in future and will no longer hold such races in an open circuit.
Eimarace was organised by Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with the cooperation of Tourism Pahang to promote motor sports to the youth. The race was cancelled following the tragedy.
Meanwhile, a witness who declined to be named told theSun the affected family members were part of a crowd standing at the shoulder of the track barriers to watch the race.
“The kart was driven by a racer who apparently lost control of his 131cc racekart and smashed into the plastic barriers before crashing into the victims,” he said.
Netizens questioned the safety aspects and slammed the organisers for using flimsy and unapproved barricades.
Safety measures used to make race tracks safe include energy absorbing barriers and vehicle traps filled with soft materials, sandbags and old tyres.
Sepang International Circuit chief executive officer Datuk Razlan Razali said: “First of all, motor sports is dangerous. Before race organisers want to organise a race, they would have to submit their plans to the sanctioning body to make sure all aspects of safety are being taken care of. In this case, the body is the Motorsports Association of Malaysia (MAM).
“The safety aspects include the minimum safe distance between spectators and track.
“What I was informed was MAM officials visited the venue twice to make sure everything in the plan was complied with. However, when it came to the race weekend, certain things were not observed, and MAM even wanted to withdraw its sanctioning of the event.
“I can’t tell you what conditions were not fulfilled, as I have yet to get the information on this. For whatever reasons, the race proceeded.
“Why was the race allowed to go on? It’s a state-supported event, and my fear is that it was due to pressure from various parties.”
As for the plastic barriers lining the track, Razlan said, “I saw the video ... I’m curious to know why it’s like that. It’s on a straight with flimsy barriers.
“Definitely, spectators would not be safe. Safety was definitely compromised. Very tragic.”
MAM was established for the purpose of developing and growing motor sports in Malaysia. It is a national organisation that will assist clubs, event organisers, officials, competitors, commercial operators and sponsors to ensure the growth of motor sports.
Pahang police traffic investigation and enforcement chief Supt Mohd Noor Yusof said the incident occurred after one of the race-kart drivers lost control of the vehicle when it scraped two other karts and smashed into the barriers before hitting the victims.
Mohd Noor said the department had recorded statements from the three kart drivers, who were not injured in the incident.
“Investigators found that the event organisers had barricaded the race track with plastic barricades and safety tape, alerting spectators not to enter the restricted area.”
The race-kart that was involved in the fatal accident yesterday.