3 die after upper floor of nearly completed building collapses

3 die after upper floor of nearly completed building collapses
Grim task: A Fire and Rescue Department officer assessing the collapse site where the last of the three bodies has yet to be retrieved at press time in Alor Gajah.
PHOTO: The Star

ALOR GAJAH - Work to retrieve the last of three bodies at the site of a building proceeded late into the evening following the collapse of an upper floor that was being constructed. The accident left three foreign workers killed and six others seriously injured.

The victims were among 19 workers who were at the mezzanine floor of a nearly completed shopping complex at Pulau Sebang here, just 50m from the Negri Sembilan town of Tampin.

The whole floor was said to have crashed after workers removed part of the steel support.

Malacca police chief Deputy Comm Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said the distress call came at 2.15pm yesterday.

He said there were initial fears of many being trapped under the debris.

"We find that only a few were affected," he said at the scene, adding that the injured were rushed to Tampin Hospital and Malacca Hospital.

At press time, the victims, mostly Myanmars, remained unidentified as rescue workers attempted to retrieve the third body, which was buried deep inside the rubble.

"The work could go on late into the night as the mound of concrete slabs needs to be removed before the body can be retrieved," said DCP Chuah.

He added that the cause of the collapse had yet to be determined.

Earlier, workers from the State Fire and Rescue Department and their counterparts from Negri Sembilan were seen rushing to rescue victims from the pile of concrete slabs.

Joining in the operation was a SMART team from Putrajaya, which was armed with telescopic search equipment and scanners.

They were seen entering the scene at about 5pm with a canine unit.

Workers from Malacca's Civil Defence Department were put on standby at the scene.

Malacca Fire and Rescue Department director Nazili Mahmood said the whole floor was destroyed.

He added that 78 workers were at the scene to rescue those trapped.

Rescue workers later took time to break fast before quickly continuing to retrieve the third body.

State Private Affairs, Human Resources and NGO Affairs Committee chairman Datuk M.S. Mahadevan said assistance would be provided to the victims.

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