breaks

Bentong tragedy: Operations to continue today

bentong-tragedy:-operations-to-continue-today

BENTONG,. “I saw water flowing fast from a three-storey high hill rushing down,” says a witness who saw three individuals being swept away by strong currents near a chalet in Bentong, Pahang.

A maintenance staff who only wanted to be identified as Mohd Sholadi, 62, said he was at his home located on higher ground near the chalet.

“I can hear the sound of water and mud rushing out from the house and saw part of log as big as the size of two men came down and destroying a part of the chalet.

“When I saw that and I saw Bobby and his wife frantically moving back and forth looking for a way to save themselves by going to a restaurant,” he told Bernama when met at the location of the incident.

Mohd Sholadi said he called out for Bobby and his wife to go to higher ground but failed and both were swept away by the currents.

He said the restaurant the couple went to was swallowed by the flood water and that was the last time he was them.

“I then witnessed the strong currents drowned the restaurant and three ikan patin (catfish) ponds are now filled with soil,” he said adding that the main gate to the chalet also collapsed because of the strong currents.

Meanwhile, Genting Highlands Fire and Rescue chief Yusri Abdullah Sani said a search and rescue team found two ‘hot spots’ believed to be where victims of the tragedy are believed to be. Among them is Emanuel Chang, 6, who was feared missing and buried under the pile of logs.

“We are waiting for two K9 sniffer dogs to help us locate where all the victims are buried and the two sniffer dogs have found two ‘hotspots’ at two locations.

“I have directed my personnel to dig manually in the ‘hotspot’ area that the dog sniffed,” he said, admitting that the operation was quite challenging because there were too many logs, rocks and stones and sand which were carried by the strong currents, apart from no electricity.

He said the search and rescue operation was suspended at about 7 pm and will continue today at 8.30 am.

Meanwhile, a Bernama survey found that the road to the chalet was filled with mud following the effects of strong currents, apart from large boulders believed to have rolled down the slope and moderate landslides on the slopes.

The mudflow and strong currents also compromised the condition of the chalet which was partly destroyed while the lower part was covered with thick sludge.

Last Saturday, more than 30 people including nine children faced anxious moments when they were caught in the mudslide while visiting a chalet near Bentong, Pahang.

Following that, a child identified as Emmanuel Chang and a couple, Bobby Lim Yoke Hoong and Yap Koon Lau were reported missing in the tragedy.

— BERNAMA

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