Rescuers still sweeping Cameron Highlands landslide, no sign of other possible victims

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Excavators are pictured clearing soil and debris following a landslide along Jalan Simpang Pulai December 3, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Excavators are pictured clearing soil and debris following a landslide along Jalan Simpang Pulai December 3, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

SIMPANG PULAI, Dec 3 — Apart from two drivers, rescuers have not found any indication that there could be other victims buried beneath the rubble of the landslide that happened on Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands yesterday.

Perak Fire and Rescue Department operation assistant director Muhamad Shahrizal Aris said trackers dogs from the Putrajaya K9 unit are also being used to sweep the area and check if there are potentially other people who may have been unknowingly caught in the landslide.

“At the moment, the Public Works Department is trying to clear the debris at the landslide spot so that the K9 Unit can search if there are other victims buried under the landslide," he told reporters here.

He said rescuers will conduct a sweep of the area twice more and if there are no signs and will decide after that whether to continue or end the search operations.

At the moment, he said there are no signs of any other vehicle being buried beneath the rubble other than the lorry and a multipurpose vehicle (MPV) as reported earlier.

Muhamad Shahrizal said rescuers are concerned there may be further soil movement in the area and are checking with the Perak Mineral and Geoscience Department the soil conditions, as well as the weather.

Perak Fire and Rescue Department’s assistant director Muhamad Shahrizal Aris speaks to reporters near the site of the landslide along Jalan Simpang Pulai December 3, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib
Perak Fire and Rescue Department’s assistant director Muhamad Shahrizal Aris speaks to reporters near the site of the landslide along Jalan Simpang Pulai December 3, 2021. — Picture by Farhan Najib

“We might stop the cleaning work if the weather doesn't permit us to continue the work.

“But for now there is no movement on the soil,” he said, adding the depth of the landslide is about five to seven metres.

So far, rescuers have extracted the wreckage of the MPV, a Toyota Alphard. The lorry remains buried.

The landslide was said to have happened at about 1.30pm yesterday, killing two people.

The victims have been identified as Muhammad Hafiz Hamdi, 31, from Tanjung Piandang in Kerian, who was driving a lorry carrying vegetables and Tan Chee Heng, 36, from Klang, Selangor, who was driving the Toyota Alphard.

Perak police chief Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said the rescue team managed to retrieve the two bodies after nearly 10 hours of operation.

“The first body was of Tan, who was in a Toyota Alphard. He was pulled out at about 9.30pm.

“The second was Muhammad Hafiz, whose body was retrieved from the lorry at 10.50pm,” he said.

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