Simpang Pulai landslide: Body of lorry driver retrieved

IPOH: A 31-year-old lorry driver was buried in a landslide along KM34 of the Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley road, leading up to Cameron Highlands.

Efforts made to retrieve the body of the victim have been successful, and it's brought to the police van.

The victim has been identified as Muhammad Hafiz Hamdi, 31, from Tanjung Piandang in Parit Buntar.

When met at the site, the lorry driver’s older brother, Muhammad Kamal Hamdi, said he started to worry when he could not get hold of his brother.

He said usually his brother would update in the family chat group on his whereabouts.

“I tried calling him, but could not get hold of him.

“Then one of his friend informed us about the landslide,” he said, adding that he rushed to the site immediately.

The victim, Muhammad Hafiz, has two children aged two and a newborn.

Meanwhile, another vehicle trapped in the debris is a multi-purpose vehicle, but there are no details as to how many people are inside that vehicle.

Perak police chief Comm Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said checks with the victim’s employer confirmed that the man was transporting vegetables from Cameron Highlands to Ipoh.

He said the victim's boss had confirmed that he was the only one inside the lorry.

“At the moment, efforts are underway to rescue him, as well the victim or victims in the multi-purpose vehicle.

“The rescue mission will continue throughout the night until all victims are found,” he told reporters at the site on Thursday (Dec 2).

Comm Mior Faridalathrash said police had received a call from a member of the public about the landslide at about 1.41pm.

“Excavators are being used to clear the area, and hopefully if it does not rain heavily, we will be able to locate all victims,” he added.

In an update, police said the body of the second victim of the landslide, which is the driver of the MPV, was retrieved from the debris.

The man from Klang was believed to be travelling from Gua Musang to Penang.

The identity of the man is still unknown. He is believed to be in his 50s.

The body was brought out to the waiting police van about 9.55pm.

Motorists have been advised to use alternative roads to Cameron Highlands, as Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley will be closed off temporarily.

In another development, Perak infrastructure committee chairman Datuk Mohd Zolkafly Harun said he believed the incident was caused by continuous rainfall.

Mohd Zolkafly said the Kinta Public Works Department and concessionaire Belati Wangsa Sdn Bhd are still inspecting the affected site.

"The affected area included a 100m stretch of the road that has cut off traffic from both sides.

"The stretch of road is not safe for motorists," he said.

"The situation will be closely monitored by the concessionaire and the Public Works Department," he added.

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