Sunday, December 07, 2008

Massive landslide at Bukit Antarabangsa

The Star

One of the bungalows hit by the Bukit Antarabangsa landslide.

KUALA LUMPUR: A massive landslide occurred in Bukit Antarabangsa at about 3.30am Saturday.

One resident is still missing while four have been found dead, said Selangor Chief Police Officer Deputy Comm Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.

However, police have not ruled out the possibility that passers-by may also be trapped.

"We are confident (the last resident) is still alive. We are expecting to save someone.

"Only one resident is unaccounted for but we are not ruling out the possibility that passers-by may be affected.

"The operations will continue until we are sure that no one is trapped under the rubble," said Khalid.

The four others who had previously thought to be missing had escaped the landslide and have contacted the police.

Three of the dead have been identified as veterinarian Dr N. Yogeswari, 40, accountant Ng Yee Ping, 30, and Shaiful Khas Shaharuddin, 20.

The body of Indonesian maid Surina was removed from the rubble at around 7.40pm Saturday.

A total of 93 people have been rescued.

At a 9pm press conference at the site, Khalid assured evacuated residents that their homes will be kept safe by patrolling officers.

The Pasukan Gerak Am will watch over the houses including those at the top to ensure there are no intruders, he added.

Khalid said a bridge was also being built across a monsoon drain near the operations centre to enable residents living at Taman Bukit Mewah to have easy access out and to remove their vehicles.

The residential area is located a short distance from the landslide scene but residents were told to evacuate for safety reasons.

Residents were currently walking on a tiny plank over a small drain with their suitcases and baby prams.

Khalid said the search and rescue operation will continue for 24 hours a day.

Those who have been evacuated were sent to Sekolah Kebangsaan Ulu Klang. Food and shelter will be provided there.

Khalid said as of now, there are 14 teams with dogs and electronic equipment trying to locate the last missing victim. “After 5pm, it will be 12 hours (since the incident happened early Saturday morning). We will start using heavy machinery to find those still stuck in the rubble.

“We’ll take careful measures when looking for the victim,” he said.

When asked if the rain would make it more dangerous, he said: “I don’t know. I hope there are no more landslides but I cannot be sure.”

The landslide cut off access by the main road to the residential areas at Bukit Antarabangsa, trapping hundreds of residents.

As of 2.20pm Saturday, more than 2,000 residents have been evacuated, said Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Musa Hassan.

As of 6pm Saturday the police had airlifted 13 people who needed immediate medical attention including two pregnant women, two elderly women with weak hearts, a man who is a stroke patient and another man who needed haemodialysis treatment.

The last man is said to have made it to the hospital just in time for his treatment.

Also affected are 14 houses in Jalan Bukit Mewah and Jalan Mewah Utama.

The 15 injured people and the remains of the dead were rushed to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital.

There are more than 600 people involved in the search and rescue operations from the military, Civil Defence Department, Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue (Smart) team, Fire & Rescue department, Red Crescent, hospitals and the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council.

According to BERNAMA, the injured were given first aid at the Addinniah surau before being sent to hospital. At least 12 ambulances were spotted at the scene on Saturday morning.

Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman Azmin Ali said at the scene that earth movement continued to take place and that electricity supply to several housing estates in Bukit Antarabangsa was disrupted.

The site of Saturday's landslide is believed to be 1.5km from the Highland Towers apartment building which collapsed on Dec 11, 1993, killing 48 people.

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