GEORGE TOWN, Oct 22 – The actual number of victims buried in yesterday’s landslide at tragedy at the construction site of an affordable home housing project in Lengkok Lembah Permai, Tanjung Bungah is 11 people and not 14 as reported yesterday, said Fire and Rescue Department (JBPM) deputy operations head Ervin Galen Teruki.
He said three workers who were included in the list of 14 victims reported yesterday escaped with minor injuries, and received treatment at the Penang Hospital (HPP). So far, seven bodies have been found and the search and rescue (SAR) operation for the other four victims is still being carried out by the SAR team.
The six bodies which had been retrieved and sent to HPP and have been identified as Hussin and Yunus (Bangladesh); Hosrin and Erwin (Indonesia); and Elyas and Yusof (Myanmar), while the seventh was found at 9.56am today but has not yet been taken out. “It is difficult and dangerous to take out the seventh body which is buried quite deep due to the wet soil and close proximity to reinforcement bars.
The 130-strong search and rescue team comprises police, JBPM, Civil Defence Force, Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (SMART) from Putrajaya, JBPM Canine Detection Unit (K9), Penang Hospital, Penang Island City Council, People’s Volunteer Corps (RELA) and non-governmental organisations.
Ervin Galen said soil movements still taking place on the slope made it difficult for JBPM and rescuers to conduct the search and rescue operation. He said about 1,000 tons of earth had to be removed from the area of collapse and a 20-foot area had been dug up so so far.
“The contractors have added another excavator and several lorries to facilitate earth removal from the landslide area,” he said. The SMART team is also using cutting equipment and a detection tool (snake eyes) which uses a 2D image to scan objects under the rubble. Ervin Galen hoped the operation to detect the victims could be concluded today. — Bernama