Trapped under landslide rubble


IPOH: A rescue operation to reach those trapped under the rubble of a massive landslide in Simpang Pulai that buried two vehicles continued throughout the night.

As at press time, two bodies have been found – a 31-year-old lorry driver and a man from a luxury multi-purpose vehicle (MPV).

Rescuers pulled out the body from the MPV buried under the rubble of the landslide at KM34 of the Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley road leading to Cameron Highlands at around 9.55pm.

The man, whose identity is unknown and believed to be in his 50s, was from Klang and believed to be travelling from Gua Musang to Penang.

An aerial view showing a landslide that occurred along the Simpang PulaiCameron Highlands road where two vehicles are buried. Rescue personnel have recovered two bodiesAn aerial view showing a landslide that occurred along the Simpang PulaiCameron Highlands road where two vehicles are buried. Rescue personnel have recovered two bodies

Perak Fire and Rescue Department director Azmi Osman said the identity and age of the man had yet to be verified.

The body of the lorry driver, identified as Muhammad Hafiz Hamdi from Tanjung Piandang in Parit Buntar, was retrieved at around 10.50pm.

Police said they had yet to determine the number of people inside the MPV.

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

Ongoing mission: Rescue members working hard to retrieve those trapped under the rubble. — RONNIE CHIN/The StarOngoing mission: Rescue members working hard to retrieve those trapped under the rubble. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

He said the victim’s employer had also confirmed that he was the only person in the lorry.

Police had received a distress call about the landslide at around 1.41pm.

Besides excavators brought in to clear the debris, a K9 unit has also been deployed.

“The rescue mission will be continued until all victims are found,” said Comm Mior Faridalathrash.

Restless earth: The section of road obliterated by the landslide along the Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands route. (Below) Victim Muhammad Hafiz.Restless earth: The section of road obliterated by the landslide along the Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands route. (Below) Victim Muhammad Hafiz.

A Perak Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said that at 8pm, the rescue team had managed to spot one of the tyres of the luxury MPV.

Motorists needing to go to Cameron Highlands have now been advised to use alternative roads as Jalan Simpang Pulai-Blue Valley is temporarily closed.

Perak infrastructure committee chairman Datuk Mohd Zolkafly Harun said initial reports indicated that the landslide was caused by continuous rainfall.

He said the Kinta Public Works Department (JKR) and the road’s concessionaire Belati Wangsa Sdn Bhd were still inspecting the site.

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

“The stretch is not safe for motorists,” he said, adding that the concessionaire and JKR were monitoring the situation.

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