Sunday, June 16, 2013

Search for hawker's body goes on

The victim's wife Lee Chai Song (second from right) with family members pray for divine help in recovering his remains

Mother seeks divine intervention so that rescuers can quickly locate son

GEORGE TOWN: THE search for the body of hawker Lim Chin Aik, 44, who is believed to be buried under a 5m-deep crater near Menara Umno here, continued on its second day.

Two excavators resumed digging the crater from 9am after Lim's family members confirmed that the chassis number found on a wrecked Honda City belonged to him.

Lim's mother, Ang Kim Looi, 70, and sister Lim Lye Soon, 40, arrived the scene at 9.15am and waited anxiously for the operation to dig out his body.

They were joined by Lim's wife, Lee Chai Song, 48, and their three children -- Chia Yiang, 20, Chia Oon, 18, and Hui Jiune, 13 -- who were all in tears upon arrival.

Ang was seen praying with jossticks while crying next to the crater.

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"I am seeking divine intervention so that the team can locate my son's body as soon as possible."

Lye Soon, who was seen sobbing uncontrollably, said the family members were worried after the hawker had gone missing on his way to pick up Hui Jiune from school since Thursday.

"We looked for him at many places, including hospitals, but there was no sign of him."

Penang Water Supply Corporation employees were seen welding the underground water pipe that was severed upon impact by a fallen lightning arrestor pole.

Present was Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya, who consoled the family members.

He said the soft soil structure around the crater had hampered the rescue operations.

Dr Hilmi, who is also state Barisan Nasional secretary, said engineers on site had recommended sheet pilings to be inserted around the crater to prevent earth movement. "The soil is unstable and the sheet pilings were placed to contain the structure."

Dr Hilmi said Menara Umno owner, JKP Sdn Bhd, would continue to study the premises' stability, although initial findings showed that the structure was intact.

Tanjung member of parliament Ng Wei Aik alleged that JKP Sdn Bhd had not submitted the safety audit report to the local council in 2011, as required under the Streets, Drainage and Building Act 1974.

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