GEORGE TOWN: Indonesian Asman Hamid’s heart broke when he realised that the body he helped pull out of the ground after the landslide in Jalan Bukit Kukus, Paya Terubong, was that of his 19-year-old son.
“The father was with members of the police force and firemen during the search for his son Samsul on Friday.
“He had taken off his shoes and was digging the earth when he pulled Samsul out,” said the victim’s aunt Ramziah.
When Asman, 62, realised it was his son that he had brought out, he hugged the body tight, she said.
“They (Asman and his wife) accompanied Samsul’s body in the police truck to the hospital,” she told Bernama at the compound of the Penang Hospital mortuary.
Samsul’s body was among four pulled out from the rubble during the search and rescue (SAR) operation over the past two days.
The others were Bangladesh worker Aktarul, 35; Khin Aye Kaing, 33, a female Myanmar worker; and Indonesian worker Bahtiar, 36.
They were killed in the catastrophe, which occurred after heavy rains hit the state from Thursday afternoon, causing a landslide in the container and kongsi area of the Bukit Kukus paired road construction site at about 1.15pm on Friday.
Ramziah said the family had decided to take Samsul’s body back to Indonesia once the post-mortem was completed.
The body will be flown from Penang to Jakarta, before going on to Makassar, Kendari. From there, it will be taken by land to Buton.
Asman, a Malaysian permanent resident, and his wife were at the Penang Hospital Forensic Department on Friday evening.
He was dishevelled, shoeless and covered in mud from the search for Samsul, his third child.
Asman said he received a call from one of Samsul’s friends, who asked him to go to the scene of the landslide.
“I knew about the incident after Friday prayers.
“When I got home, my wife was crying,” he said, adding that he took a taxi from their home in Sungai Nibong to the site.
Samsul, he added, came to Malaysia about two months ago and started work here.
Asman’s other children live with their grandmother in Buton Tengah, Sulawesi.
Three other workers are still missing. They are Subairi, an Indonesian, and Mithu Hossain, a 30-year-old Bangladeshi.
The third person has not been identified so far.
Search and rescue operations were halted at around 5am due to a downpour and resumed at around 10am yesterday.
A total of 10 workers were believed to be involved in the accident. Three injured workers were saved from the landslide.
They are Bangladeshi Shamim, 24, and Indonesians Wakrini, 36, and Nora Zizah, 24.
Penang Fire and Rescue director Saadon Mokhtar said sniffer dogs were being used to find the victims.
“SAR operations will continue until all the victims are found,” he said.