GEORGE TOWN: The Search and Rescue (SAR) operations for the remaining four victims of the logistics warehouse construction collapse in Batu Maung was halted at 6.30 pm today following a verification that they were not trapped under the rubble.
Penang Deputy Police Chief Datuk Mohamed Usuf Jan Mohamad said the workers had fled the scene right after the incident as they were believed to be without permits.
The men were picked up about 4 pm around Bayan Lepas and have been remanded to facilitate investigations, he said.
“We have been carrying out the SAR operations since 10.30 last night using Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) analysts, K9 tracker dogs unit, digging the debris, drones, and the Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team of Malaysia (Storm).
“However, we found that the four victims supposedly trapped under the rubble, whose employer and supervisor informed us were at the site during the incident, had actually fled the scene,” he said during a press conference at the site here today.
Mohamed Usuf said closed-circuit TV footage showed the four workers fleeing the site at 9.06 pm.
He confirmed that the number of victims, for now, remains at five, with three deceased and two critically injured.
The deceased have been identified as Md Ahed Ali, 42, Mohammad Mokaddes Ali, 46, and Mohd Sayful Islam, 29.
The critically injured workers are Md Uzzal Mridha,30, who sustained a broken left leg, and Md Razu Ahamad, 33, with head and neck injuries, who are both being treated at the Penang Hospital.
Mohamed Usuf said the case has been classified as sudden death, but further investigations will be conducted by the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), Department of Occupational Safety and Health (DOSH) as well as the fire and rescue department.
Meanwhile, State Fire and Rescue Department Deputy Director Zulfahmi Sutaji said his team will remain on site but with reduced personnel.
In the 9.58 pm incident last night, three Bangladeshi workers were killed when the under-construction logistics warehouse collapsed, while another two were critically injured.
The construction site is located in the southern part of Penang, and the building is a three-storey logistics business complex with office space, parking, and warehouses. -Bernama