Take safety seriously

By KOW KWAN YEE

Photos by GARY CHEN and MUHAMAD SHAHRIL ROSLI

Safety concerns: A scene of the crowd and beach activities at the Batu Ferringhi beach yesterday after the horse incident which happened at another stretch on the famous tourism belt in Penang.

Accident waiting to happen: A photo taken by hotel guest Ruslam Zakaria showing the rider on the galloping horse moments before the accident.

TOURISTS are shocked over the latest accident on Batu Ferringhi beach and want the Penang Government to be more stringent in controlling sports activities there.

Ruslam Zakaria, from Kuala Lumpur, described the incident as a hit-and-run version on the beach as the horse rider just galloped away after knocking down five-year-old Arina Kirana Azrin yesterday morning.

He said he was taking pictures on the beach when he saw a horse ridden by a man running away from two Penang Municipal Council enforcement officers.

“The horse was galloping very fast when it knocked down a girl who was playing with sand,” he said.

Arina, who suffered a fracture to the left collarbone, was first sent to a clinic before being admitted to the Penang Hospital.

Ruslam, 46, said he would now have to think of the safety of water sports activities on the beach first before trying them out as his daughter was interested in a horse ride before the accident.

Young victim: Arina being wheeled into a ward at the Penang Hospital after she was hit by the galloping horse on the Batu Ferringhi Beach.

He was apparently unaware of a ban on horse riding and quad-biking on the beach which came into effect in January.

“I hope the girl is fine in the hospital now as I can’t imagine if this happened to my daughters,” said the father-of-two.

Australian tourist Arthur Paikos, 61, who has been visiting Penang since 1980, said he was disappointed to learn about the accident as he heard that a Chinese national was rammed by a water scooter during his last trip here on February.

It was reported that Zhu Li, 47, broke both her legs after being rammed by a water scooter while she was taking a walk on the beach on Feb 24.

“I thought the enforcement unit would have taken stern action to handle the issue of illegal operators after that accident and was surprised to hear another case happening again,” Arthur said.

He said the state government should demarcate a specific area for water sports activities like what some other countries are doing.

Arthur’s wife, Heather, 57, said she did not dare to take a stroll on the beach now as she was afraid that a pack of dogs there might attack her.

“The beach is so messy and dirty,” she added.

Dunstan: Carry out strict enforcement before people start saying the beach in Penang is dangerous.

Another Australian, Craig Dunstan, 29, who is on his sixth vacation in Penang, said the authorities should look into the matter more seriously before it became critical.

“The relevant authority must carry out strict enforcement before people start saying that the beach in Penang is dangerous which will be damaging and a bad reputation for the tourism industry here,” he said.

Other accidents which occurred at the beach included that involving seven-year-old Rina Aizawa from Japan who was playing on the beach when a parasailing rope hooked her neck, lifting her off the ground and dragging her for a short distance last Dec 24.

She sustained laceration on her neck. The incident also left her traumatised.

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Category: News @ George Town