PENANG: A 49-year-old construction worker survived despite being trapped beneath tonnes of rubble and debris following the collapse of two adjoining pre-war houses in Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong here yesterday morning.
Hashim Mohd Din was pulled out from the rubble by several of his colleagues who had witnessed the collapse at 10am.
He was rushed to the Penang Hospital in an ambulance with serious head and body injuries.
Hashim was preparing to start work when the roofs of the two houses, including its common wall,came crashing down.
His colleagues, who were outside, cheated death as they were just about to enter the premises at that time.
Hashim, who suffered serious concussion, facial cuts and head and body injuries, was unconscious when wheeled out of the hospital's X-ray department.
A neighbour, who declined to be named, said he was having a late breakfast when he heard a very loud crash.
I thought that an accident had occurred. I ran outside and saw a huge cloud of dust coming from the next house.
The top portion (roofs) had collapsed and I could hear someone groaning in pain beneath the rubble.
Three men suddenly began digging the rubble and managed to pull a man out in a few minutes.
The man was covered in dust and his head was bleeding, he said, adding that the victim was later taken away by an ambulance.
Kampong Kolam assemblyman Lim Gim Soon said this was the second time that such an incident had happened at the same premises, the first happened about six months ago shortly after the residents moved out.
I wrote to the Penang Municipal Council about the dilapidated state of the two pre-war houses which are owned by a Singaporean.
The council wrote to the owner who then instructed a construction company to renovate the premises and work started about two months ago, he said.