GEORGE TOWN (Bernama) – The operation to find and extricate all four Myanmar workers buried alive in the landslide at a construction site at Jalan Batu Ferringhi, Tanjung Bungah has been called off after the last body was found at 4.35am yesterday.
The announcement of the discovery of the last body was made by Northeast District Police Chief ACP Che Zaimani Che Awang, seven hours after the search and rescue (SAR) operation was launched imme-diately after the incident was reported at 9.45pm on Tuesday.
The operation had indeed showcased the improved level of efficiency and commitment of those involved, including members of the media, especially after going through the same ordeal during the Bukit Kukus landslide operation on October 19 last year which lasted four days before the last of the nine victims was found.
According to Che Zaimani, the body of the fourth Myanmar worker was found at 3.35am near the three other bodies found earlier.
“I thank all the quarters involved in the operation. The operation has been called off after the last body was extricated from the site,” he told reporters at the scene.
Che Zaimani said the SAR team had earlier faced some difficulties in removing the bodies as there were many piles of iron and a tap root at the scene, which hampered the process.
“The four Myanmar workers were in the midst of building a retaining wall at the construction site. Some of them were found with injuries. Three of them were found in a standing position, while the other one was sprawled not far from the others,” he said.
Che Zaimani said all of them did not have any identification document and the police would contact the Myanmar Embassy to get their details based on their fingerprints.
Meanwhile, Penang Fire and Rescue Department Assistant Director (Operations) Mohd Hafiz Hafizal Timaradin said five officers and 117 fire and rescue personnel from five fire stations, as well as members of the Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team of Malaysia (STORM) were involved in the operation.
They were assisted by members of the General Operations Force, Penang Island City Council and non-government organisation.
A gardener who witnessed the 9.25pm landslide claimed that he heard a loud bang before the retaining wall near a resort collapsed.
Zulkefli Tinggal, 61, told the police that the wall was being built by the Myanmar workers, one of whom he had known as Ong.
He said Ong had worked as a maintenance worker at the resort for the past three years and was hired to build the retaining wall with his three other friends over the past week.
The four Myanmar nationals re-portedly were hired by the resort owner to build the retaining wall following the land movements that occurred in the area over the past week.