Lucky to be alive: Motorist recalls close brush with death in Jalan Sultan Ismail

“Thank God I am alive.”

Those were the first words uttered by Beatrice Sta Maria after narrowly escaping injury when a thunderstorm in busy Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur this afternoon, uprooted a tree and crushed a motorist to death.

Sta Maria, 49, a marketing manager with Takaful Malaysia, was on her way to a meeting when the incident happened.

“I was heading to Menara Hap Seng. Traffic was slow moving, but I wasn’t worried, as I was early,” said Sta Maria, who was coming from Menara Takaful Malaysia in Jalan Sultan Sulaiman.

“Out of nowhere, a few small branches landed on my windscreen. Suddenly, a huge tree fell in front of me. I let out a scream and slammed on the brakes.

“The tree smashed into the two cars ahead of me. A few more branches fell behind me, and debris hit my car,” said Sta Maria, whose Mazda CX5 suffered minor damage.

Sta Maria grabbed her phone, and rushed out of her car. She wanted to help the drivers in front of her. Fortunately, police quickly arrived on the scene, and she then headed to the opposite side of the road.

“I didn’t want to sit there as I was worried for my safety. Thank God for the police.

“It seems they were at Shangri-La, the official hotel for the Defence Services Asia and National Security Asia exhibitions,” said Sta Maria, who lives in Subang Jaya.

“I am grateful for their quick response. It only took the (Kuala Lumpur) Fire and Rescue personnel 20 minutes to arrive on the scene.

“It took them nearly an hour to get the victims out of the car. I saw them stretcher someone out, but it was unclear who it was, as the rain was really heavy.”

Sta Maria said she had often driven along Jalan Sultan Ismail and always noticed the huge tree in front of the Concorde Hotel.

“Never did I imagine the tree would fall right as I was driving along the road,” said Sta Maria.

“I’m grateful to be alive. My heart goes out to the victims. I want to express my appreciation for the quick actions of the police and the fire and rescue teams,” she added.