Nor Wahid said he remembered smelling petrol fumes inside the car and the smell grew stronger as they neared the toll plaza.
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On 24 April, a family of four lost consciousness in the car and were rescued after their vehicle hit a water pipe at the Bentong toll plaza on the Kuala Lumpur-Karak Expressway.
Nor Wahid, 52, driving the Proton Exora, said he regained consciousness in Bentong Hospital and was informed by staff that his wife, 46, niece, 17, and daughter, 12, were receiving treatment at the same hospital.
The doctor said all four of them passed out due to low blood oxygen levels.
Nor Wahid refuted claims that the car’s air conditioning malfunctioned and caused carbon monoxide poisoning, New Straits Times reported.
However, he said he remembered smelling strong petrol fumes inside the car before the incident happened.
According to the father-of-five, they left Kuala Terengganu at about 8am on 24 April after spending the night at his brother’s house and the air conditioning worked fine. The car remained cool throughout the journey as they drove from Bentong to Balakong, Selangor.
They left in two cars with his eldest son, Shafiq, driving the other car. Both cars stopped at Perasing Rest and Service Area along East Coast Highway 2 for an hour. However, Nor Wahid didn’t turn off his car engine.
His wife took over the wheel after that and they decided to stop in Gambang, but it was congested. They stopped and refuelled the car at Temerloh Rest and Service Area. The air conditioner still exhibited no issues.
There was a strong petrol smell in the car
Nor Wahid said on TikTok he realized a strong petrol smell inside the car after travelling about 2km after the Karak toll plaza in slow traffic.
Due to the hot weather, he lowered the driver’s side window but raised it again when the traffic flowed smoothly again.
The petrol smell grew stronger as he approached the Bentong toll plaza. He had to drive slowly again as the traffic congestion was bad. Feeling the heat again, he lowered a window.
It was at this time when he felt uncomfortable and tired, so he asked his wife to take over the wheel.
She didn’t respond, and he realized everyone in the car had fallen asleep. He assumed they were too tired.
Little did he know, he lost focus soon after and passed out. He remembered his vision starting to blur, losing his hearing and feeling weak before he blacked out.
@norwahid71 Replying to @ibutwinsaishah ♬ original sound – NORWAHID
During the incident, he also vaguely recalled someone pressing his chest, gently tapping his cheeks and telling him not to sleep.
He was in a daze and gradually came to after he was administered oxygen at the hospital. All of his family members were awake and in stable condition.
They were all discharged from the hospital around 10pm once their blood pressure stabilised.
Nor Wahid said they collected their car from the police station and stayed at a hotel in Bentong.
The next day, they safely reached home in Balakong and reported the petrol smell in the car was gone.
Nothing wrong with the car so far
Over the next few days, he inspected his car’s air conditioning unit and found no leakage issues. He also drove the 10-year-old car around Balakong to be sure.
He added that the car’s air conditioner was last serviced in December last year and he also changed the compressor in the same visit.
Just to be extra cautious, he said he’ll have his son bring the car for inspection and thorough checks.
District police chief Superintendent Zaiham Mohd Kahar said investigations revealed there were no elements of negligence or crime in the incident.
Nor Wahid thanked everyone who helped his family and hoped Proton Exora owners would not panic due to this incident as there was nothing wrong with the vehicle.
When asked about earlier allegations of carbon monoxide poisoning, Nor Wahid said he spoke to his son Shafiq after the incident.
He believes Shafiq could have assumed it was the faulty air conditioner after checking with his mechanic friends and posting a premature update online.