Friday, June 7, 2013

Penang ramp collapse: Rescuers finally remove body from crushed car

9.15pm: During a press conference, Penang deputy police chief SAC Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said the body of the victim was taken to the Penang General Hospital for a post-mortem after it was retrieved from the rubble at 8.49pm.

He added the victim's identity would be verified at the hospital as the incident site did not have suitable lighting, and would be known by Friday night or Saturday morning.
"We are continuing with our search and rescue effort as public information from when the incident took place claimed that several vehicles were trapped.
On the retrieval effort, Penang Fire and Rescue Dept deputy director Mohamad Shoki Hamzah said they used the crane to support the metal 'I-beam' while they pulled his body out of the car.
He said rescue operation were still ongoing and a canine unit from Kuala Lumpur could be deployed to search for other victims on Saturday.
8.49pm: Body of victim successfully removed from crushed car. Deceased was carried out on stretcher in black body bag and taken away in a police vehicle.
A man believed to be a family member fainted upon seeing the body bag, was carried out on stretcher and driven away in civil defense vehicle.
7.45pm: Rescue personnel have abandoned the use hydraulic jets to lift the rubble as the ground was too soft for it to work properly.
They are now using a crane and a compressor crusher.
The man, believed to be the brother-in-law of the victim, refused to comment when approached by reporters.
7.13pm: A man believed to be the brother of the man trapped in the rubble arrived at the scene.
He was accompanied by police officers past the barricade to the scene where rescue work was still ongoing.
A car being crushed by the weight of the concrete beam.A car being crushed by the weight of the concrete beam.
Several other, believed to be family members, also arrived at the scene, but shied away when approached by the press.
6.30pm: The rescue team at the bridge ramp collapse scene will take two more hours to retrieve the body of an unidentified man from a light green Kelisa trapped beneath the rubble.
Penang Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohamad Shoki Hamzah said four hydraulic jets are being installed to lift the debris and rubble.
"Each can lift 200 tonnes. We estimate there are 500 tonnes of rubble now," he said.
When asked on why the rescue mission was taking so long, Mohamad Shoki said it was not based on manpower but on "machine power".
"We were determining the most suitable machine for the rescue effort," he added.
5.00pm: State deputy police chief SAC Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said police removing a body, believed to be a man from the crushed Kelisa. The victim was found slumped over the dashboard.
1.00pm: So far, about 5 large steel pieces removed.
12.30pm: Rubble clearing progress allows rescuers to get closer to trapped car. More of the car becomes visible. The car plate number with some digits missing is "PF?347?"
11.50am: Probe begins. Early investigation on the collapsed of the still-under-construction Penand Second Bridge will focus on the failure of the formwork support. Department of Occupational, Safety and Health Penang director Mohd Anuar Embi said Friday the department will not rule out other possibilities.
11.45am: MTUC Penang calls on the Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) to conduct a thorough investigation into the collapse.
11.40am: Police have yet to receive any missing person report
11.20am: Those with missing family members are urged to call cops.
11.00am: A search camera has detected an unmoving arm in a green Kelisa lying crushed under tons of concrete and steel.
State deputy police chief SAC Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said Friday that a search camera was used and rescuers caught a glimpse of a victim's arm but no movement or response detected.
"We can't ascertain how many victims are there but there's at least one detected, he said.
SAC Abdul Rahim said police could not identify the victim and urged anyone with family members missing since Thursday night to approach the police.
Rescue work has been ongoing for more than 14 hours. He said clearing work was expected to be completed this evening.
"Hundreds of tonnes of concrete and steel collapsed and we need to depend on heavy machinery to aid in clearing work.
Over 300 rescuers from police, Fire Department, JPAM and contractors are working to get to the crushed car.
10.30am: Police start to cordon off about 700m along the coastal highway to the site where the ramp collapsed. Heavy presence of policemen, firemen along with construction workers clearing the rubble with sound of drilling and sawing of metal.
GEORGE TOWN: Search teams are cutting through huge steel and concrete beams to get to a car crushed after an uncompleted ramp of a flyover connecting the still-under-construction second Penang bridge at Batu Maung collapsed at 7pm Thursday.
Two cranes are lifting huge chunks of rubble linked to twisted steel beams that have to be cut carefully with rescuers warned to be mindful of their own safety.
Police said the rescue teams' bid to get closer to the car was hampered by the overlapping collapsed beams. The number of people in the car is yet to be determined.
Friday morning traffic in the area has become congested as people headed for work to the factories in the industrial area.
Construction work was halted to facilitate investigation and the entry and exit routes to the area remain closed to all vehicles.
Three people were hurt by falling concrete and steel girders when the interchange ramp of the Second Penang Bridge collapsed.
Two of the victims were construction workers Slamat, 36, from Indonesia and Tin Maung Iwin, 39, from Myanmar.
Both were admitted to Penang Hospital and reported to be in stable condition.
Penang deputy police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Jaafar said Thursday night that the foreign workers were working at the project site when the incident occurred.
The other person hurt was Thilasheni Rajendran, 24, who was hit by falling debris.
Thilasheni, who was driving, managed to stop her car about two metres away from the scene of the collapse.
Her friend Gajashaantini Gajanujan, 24, who also was in the car escaped unhurt.
Abdul Rahim said over 300 firemen and policemen were searching for victims in the car buried in the rubble.
Abdul Rahim said the rescuers were forced to use bigger cranes when the cranes supplied by the construction company failed to lift the concrete.
A spokesman for Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd (JKSB) said the collapse in Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu near Batu Maung is under investigation.
The bridge exit route project is implemented by Cergas Murni Sdn Bhd. JKSB said it will issue an official statement Friday.