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Jaya supermart: One more body found

PETALING JAYA, 29 May 2009: One more body was found in the basement of the former Jaya Supermarket building in Section 14 here which collapsed yesterday.

This brings the number of casualties to three Indonesian workers. Two bodies were found yesterday while another two workers were saved.

Four other Indonesian workers are still believed to be trapped under the rubble.

Petaling Jaya OCPD ACP Arjunaidi Mohamed said the body of the third victim, which was found at 3.30am today, had yet to be taken out because the search and rescue team had to tread cautiously.

“We’re trying to make a hole in the rubble to go down. We managed to reach the third body by crawling through but have yet to bring it out,” he told reporters.

He said the team had a problem making a hole because there were still tremors which could cause the escalator above to collapse.

There could be several victims trapped in the area based on the findings of the K9 dog unit and fire fighters yesterday, he said, adding that the missing four had yet to be traced.

Arjunaidi said 515 rescue team personnel had been working round the clock since yesterday afternoon.

The incident occurred at about 5pm yesterday while several workers were carrying out demolition work on the building.

The body of the first victim, identified as Maskor, 28, was brought out at about 6.50pm and the second, which has yet to be identified, at 10.20pm.

Heavy machinery used

Last night, Deputy Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Seri Lajim Ukim said initial investigations found that overloading of heavy machineries used in demolishing the building was behind its collapse.

He said eight heavy machineries were in the building when the incident occurred.

“The investigation does not discount that more heavy machineries were in the building,” he told reporters at the site.

Lajim said the contractor involved in the demolition job has to meet several conditions including the number of heavy machineries used.

The fire and rescue department and the contractor are investigating the cause of the collapse.

Works Minister Datuk Shaziman Abu Mansor, who was also present, said the Public Works Department (JKR) was providing equipment for the search and rescue operation.

He said although the building was privately owned, Selangor JKR was happy to help. “The JKR forensic team can help find out what caused the collapse.”

Shaziman said the incident should serve as a lesson to others.

Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim said the state economic action committee would be meeting today to get the latest information.

It would be attended by the Petaling Jaya mayor and engineers.

“Our focus now is on the search and rescue operation,” he said after a visit to the site last night. — Bernama

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