Two missing, two injured in Simpang Pulai quarry rockfall incident

IPOH, March 8 — Two men remained missing after they were believed to be buried in rubble by a quarry rockfall incident occurred in Keramat Pulai, Jalan Simpang Pulai-Cameron Highlands this morning.

The Perak Fire and Rescue Department said in a statement earlier today that they received a distress call at about 9.40 am and a team from the Simpang Pulai Fire and Rescue station that rushed to the scene learnt that four people were involved in the rockfall. Two victims, in their 40s and 50s, were lucky enough to escape with injuries.

A search and rescue operation was then mounted by 57 personnel from various agencies but the authorities suspended efforts later in the evening due to the occurrence of soil movement around the rockfall area and unfavourable weather conditions, Perak police chief Datuk Mior Faridalathrash Wahid said.

“This is because we do not want any unforeseen incidents happening while (the security team) is conducting operations. We are waiting for clearance from the Department of Mineral and Geoscience Malaysia and SMART (Special Malaysia Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team) before continuing the process of removing the victims from the incident site.

“The operation is expected to take around two days,” he told reporters at the incident site today. He was joined by Perak Fire and Rescue Department director Azmi Osman.

Mior Faridalathrash said it was the first time such an incident occurred in the area and the company managing the quarrying work possessed a legal licence.

He identified the two missing men as Kheow Loo Siew Soon, 49 and Itam Lasoh, 43, while the two victims who managed to escape with injuries were Mohd Razli Suhaimi, 35, who suffered fractures, and Pan Tam, 38, who suffered minor injuries. Both victims were brought to Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital for further treatment.

“We are still investigating the real cause of the rockfall. Based on investigations, there were no quarry explosions taking place today,” he added.

Meanwhile, Itam’s wife, Wak Uda Bahkim, 41, said she was praying that her husband would be found safe and sound.

“I don’t care (if he) is found (with) trauma, injuries, as long as he is safe. I prayed to God asking for my husband to be safe,” the mother of four said.

Wak Uda said her father, Bahkim Kipak told her of the mishap, adding that the last time she met her husband was around 7 am today at their home in Kampung Jelintuh, Gopeng here during breakfast.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency