GEORGE TOWN: Asman Hamid's heart broke when he realised the body he helped pull out of the earth at the site of the landslide at Jalan Bukit Kukus in Paya Terubong was that of his son, Samsul, 19.
"Asman was with members of the police force and firemen who were searching for his son. He had taken off his shoes and was digging the earth, and pulled Samsul out," said the victim's aunt, Ramziah, at the Forensic Department in Penang Hospital on Saturday (Oct 20).
She said that when the 62-year-old Asman realised it was his son he had pulled out, he hugged the body tight.
"They (Asman and his wife) accompanied Samsul's body in the police truck to the hospital," she said.
Ramziah said the family had decided to take Samsul's body back to Indonesia once the post-mortem was completed.
When Asman and his wife arrived at the Penang Hospital Forensic Department at 6.20pm yesterday, he was dishevelled and shoeless, with his body covered in mud from participating in the search for Samsul, his third child.
He said he received a call from one of Samsul’s friends who asked him to go to the site of the landslide.
"His friend called me, asking me to go there. I knew about the incident after the Friday prayers, and when I arrived home, my wife was crying," he said.
Asman said he was a Malaysian permanent resident while his son Samsul had just arrived in the country and had been working for two months.
"Samsul and his siblings lived with their grandmother in Buton Tengah, Sulawesi. Only he came to Malaysia, while the rest remained in the village," he said.
The landslide, which was reported to have occurred at 1.56pm on Friday, has so far claimed the lives of four foreign workers, while three others were injured and another three are feared to be still trapped under the earth.
The incident occurred after heavy rains hit the state from Thursday afternoon to Friday noon, causing the landslide in the container and kongsi area of the Bukit Kukus paired road construction site.
FOURTH BODY RECOVERED
The body of the fourth victim, an Indonesian male, was uncovered on Saturday morning.
Director of the Penang Fire and Rescue Department (JPBM) Saadon Moktar said the body of Bahtiar, 36, was found by the sniffer dog unit.
"The body was found at 11.30am and we brought it out at 11.55am. It was recovered at about 20 to 30 metres from where the third body was found.
"Our search was focused on the area near where the last victim was found. We believe that they were close by to each other," he told reporters.
He added that so far, three more people were believed to be still buried in the landslide.
"A friend of one of the victims informed us that there is another Bangladeshi national who is believed to be trapped. This brings the number of people who are still trapped to three, comprising one Indonesian and two Bangladesh nationals," he said.
Saadon said for the safety of the rescue team, the search-and-rescue operations may be temporarily stopped if rain falls, as the earth is soft at the location.
The bodies of Samsul and Bangladeshi national Attrul, 35, were recovered on Friday, while that of a Myanmar woman, Khin Aye Khaing, 33, was found at 1.30am on Saturday.