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Wednesday June 3, 2009

Workers escape in the nick of time as roof of year-old stadium collapses

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KUALA TERENGGANU: Billed as the pride of the state, the RM300mil Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak suffered a major blow when its roof collapsed yesterday – just a year after it was opened.

No one was injured in the 9am incident, but the stadium, which was the venue for Sukma (Malaysian Games) last year, has been declared unsafe.

Declared unsafe: The Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium after its roof collapsed yesterday. — Bernama

The damage at the east wing has been estimated at RM25mil.

The impact of the collapse was so loud that an employee at the stadium thought that a plane had crashed-landed on it.

“I shivered when I heard the deafening sound,” stadium administration officer Noor-kumarasari Jamil, 31, said.

She panicked and screamed for her colleagues to leave the office as the Sultan Mahmud Airport was situated near to the stadium.

Noorkumarasari said her superior directed all the employees to vacate the office and take shelter at a nearby indoor stadium.

Damaged: Workers looking at the collapsed structure of the RM300mil Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Gong Badak, Terengganu. The affected zones are the main entrance, royal podium and the public seating area.

General worker Hajjah Shafar, 32, said she was terrified when she saw the roof structure tumbling down.

“I was sweeping the floor at the west wing of the stadium when the roof collapsed,” she said. “I just ran for my life.”

Nineteen workers, mostly cleaners, were at the stadium but they managed to flee to safety.

The stadium is part of the modern Gong Badak sports complex, which was built at an initial cost of RM250mil but the amount surged by an additional RM50mil due to soaring prices of building materials.

The indoor stadium, which is also part of the complex, was built at a cost of RM160mil.

The roof on the stadium’s left wing was ravaged after the iron frame structure supporting the 300m-long roof destabilised, causing it to fold. The affected zones were the main entrance, royal podium and the public seating area.

A Kancil car and three motorcycles were also damaged by the debris.

Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Mansor, who visited the site, said the Construction and Industrial Development Board, a wing under the ministry, had been tasked to form a team comprising architects to determine the cause of the catastrophe.

“It’s premature to point fingers at any party, including the contractor responsible for erecting the roof structure, until the outcome of the investigation.

“The stadium is still under warranty and the contractor will bear the cost of the remedial works,” he said, adding that the incident had tarnished the reputation of the country.

State Fire and Rescue Department director Puazan Ahmad said they received a distress call at 9.45am, and 25 personnel were sent to the site.

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