A total of three workers were killed while two others were left gravely injured after a building which was under construction near the Fisheries Development Authority of Malaysia (LKIM) collapsed at Batu Maung, Penang last night (Nov 28).
Deputy state police chief Datuk Mohamed Usuf Jan Mohamad told NST that out of the three victims, two died at the scene while one passed away at the hospital.
As for the injured workers, they were sent to the Penang Hospital for treatment. All of the victims are believed to be Bangladeshis.
Building collapses in Penang after 14-tonne beam fell
Mohamed Usuf said police received a call about the incident at 9.45pm, where a total of 18 workers were at the construction site according to initial reports. However, nine went elsewhere to perform prayers.
Another nine were working underneath a 12m-long beam, weighing about 14 tonnes, which collapsed from a height of 20m and knocked into 14 other beams. All the beams fell onto the workers, trapping them below.
“We are now searching for the remaining four workers believed to be trapped in the rubble with the help of firefighters and the search operation will not end until all of them have been located,” he said.
Search area the size of basketball court
However, Mohamed Usuf noted that the search operation is proving to be difficult as all the beams need to be removed using cranes before rescuers can get to the victims.
Deputy state Fire and Rescue Department director Fire Assistant Commissioner Zulfahmi Sutaji told the English daily that the search operation will go on into the morning.
“Our difficulty is that these are extremely heavy concrete structures, so we need the help of heavy and hydraulic machineries to access the site. We also roped in the help from the K9 unit.
“The search site is the size of a basketball court. That is our search area,” he said.
We hope all four victims will be found and we send our condolences to the families of those who died in the tragedy.