GEORGE TOWN • Two people were killed and one injured in a landslide at a construction site in the Malaysian state of Penang yesterday, as a search-and-rescue operation continued into the night for those feared buried alive.
Six containers used to house workers at the construction site in in Paya Terubong were brought down in the landslide at about 1pm and workers were reportedly buried under the earth.
Penang Fire and Rescue Department director Saadon Moktar said it is believed the victims were inside the containers when the landslide occurred.
He added that as of yesterday evening, rescuers have found the body of a 35-year-old Bangladeshi and a 19-year-old Indonesian, while a Myanmar national was found alive with a broken leg. The first body was recovered at 3.40pm.
"All the victims were found under the containers. There are six containers at the site, besides several wooden shacks," he said.
It is feared that 10 more victims could have been buried alive.
A 36-year-old Indonesian construction worker, who wanted to be known only as Endo, said three of his family members from Sulawesi were trapped. "Three of them, in their 30s, were inside and I got to know that one of them was trapped in a container. I pray for their safety."
A total of 145 personnel from the police force, fire and rescue service, civil defence force and health department are involved in the search-and-rescue operation. A canine unit has been sent from Kuala Lumpur to assist.
A group of foreigners believed to be family members and friends of the landslide victims began arriving at the project site gate from 3.30pm to obtain updates of the incident.
Indonesian labourer Kasran Rajuni said he hoped his friends from his home village, feared to be buried in the landslide, were found safe.
Mr Kasran, 28, of Kota Bau-Bau, North Sulawesi, said he last met his friends about two months ago.
"I was shocked when told of the incident and I immediately rushed here from Batu Maung," he told Bernama.
It has been raining intermittently on Penang island since Thursday and conditions in the landslide area are extremely muddy.
The landslide took place at the construction zone of the paired road from Bandar Baru Ayer Itam to Bukit Jambul, which has been beset with problems.
Last Thursday, 14 25m-long concrete beams crashed down from an elevated section of the highway. No injuries were reported.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, BERNAMA