Sunday, June 16, 2013

PENANG STORM UPDATE: More excavators brought in to search for body

Excavation works continue at the crated created by a fallen concrete beam on Thursday

The rescue team at the Menara Umno pole collapse site has intensified the search for the missing 44-year-old hawker Lim Chin Aik by digging deeper into the crater.
The authorities are also using six excavators on rotational basis to ensure the work can be carried out round-the-clock.
Even the intermittent rain tonight did not hamper the rescue operations as the excavators continued their quest to recover the wrecked Honda City buried beneath concrete slabs.

Penang government Technical Advisory panel member Datuk Lim Kok Khong said there was a need to increase the depth from six meters to nine meters.

"We need to go deeper into the crater as our on-going rescue efforts have failed to locate the main part of wrecked vehicle as well as the body.

"The pole with a length of about 40 meters may have pushed the wrecked vehicle deeper into the gaping hole."

Kok Khong said the new 40 sheet piles were ferried from Sungai Petani at a cost of RM50,000.

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He said six excavators would be deployed to dig the crater on a rotational basis. Two excavators are used at one time.

Meanwhile, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng apologised for the water supply interruption to the affected households in the vicinity of Komtar since last Thursday.

Lim said the Penang Water Supply Corporation would restore the supply by noon tomorrow.

Earlier in the day, rescue workers were faced with problems excavating the five-metre deep crater as continous water flows from a broken sewer pipe, with few suction machines deployed to expel the water out.

Despite that, the contractors and rescue workers continue to work tirelessly to bring out the wreckage and search for the remains.
The crater was a result of a falling lightning arrestor pole along with the mast of the Menara Umno here after a freak storm on Thursday.

As of 4am, three excavators were busy scooping out gallons of waste water out of the crater after a sewerage pipe broke, softening soil and marine clay there.

Contractors later managed to find a washer to plug the leak as a temporary measure.
The tireless contractors threw out tonnes of mud and clay, and were dumped on the sides of the crater amidst a strong stench of waste throughout the hours of search and rescue work.

Earlier, Penang police chief Datuk Abdul Rahim Hanafi said a chasis plate from a Honda car was found, which was registered to a missing person on Friday.

It is feared that Lim Chin Aik, 44, from Weld Quay, is trapped in his Honda City car in the crater along with remnants of concrete and strands of high-tensile steel from the fallen mast in the ground.

Lim's wife, Lee Chai Song, 48, said her husband went missing after he left to fetch his daughter from school on Thursday evening.

She said Lim usually used the Jalan Macalister road on his daily routine to fetch their daughter.
Rescue workers had so far retrieved parts of a door, an object that appears to be a driveshaft and a car tyre and rim of a Honda City car.

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