Rescuers meet toddler they pulled from collapsed building 23 years ago

Grateful: Nur Hamidah thanking the firemen involved in the Highland Towers rescue operation for saving her life. With her is Umi Rasyidah (in pink).
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

KUALA LUMPUR - Highland Towers tragedy survivor Nur Hamidah Nadjib has only two words for her rescuers - a heartfelt "thank you".

In conveying her gratitude to those who plucked her out from the collapsed building 23 years ago, an emotional Nur Hamidah kissed the hand of then Federal CID director Tan Sri Zaman Khan Rahim Khan.

Accompanied by her mother Umi Rasyidah Khoiruman, she repeatedly said "thank you" to her saviours during the special reunion session arranged by TV9.

Umi Rasyidah, 44, also survived the tragedy.

Both mother and daughter arrived here yesterday from Indonesia where they moved to after the incident.

Block One of Highland Towers in Taman Hillview, Ulu Klang, collapsed on Dec 11, 1993, causing the deaths of 48 people and leading to the complete evacuation of the remaining two blocks due to safety concerns.

Recalling the fateful day, Nur Hamidah, 24, said she was only 14 months old then.

"Although I could not remember much, I really want to thank each and every rescuer for saving my life.

"I would not be here today without them. I will cherish this moment," she said while holding back her tears.

Zaman Khan quickly quipped, "(You) were so little... (I) was looking for you for so long. I never expected to see (you) again..."

The retired cop said he had made various efforts to look for them but was not successful.

"I could not believe it when the media told me they had found you," he said, adding that the success in pulling them out of the rubble motivated the rescue team to look for more survivors.

During the emotional reunion, Nur Hamidah was given a picture of her being rescued from the rubble 10 days after the tragedy.

Later, they revisited the site and met with her former employer Susan Tan, 76.

Among those present were firemen who were involved in the rescue operation, including Fire and Rescue Department Corporate Management division Senior Supt Norizan Saad.