Monday, January 12, 2009

Perak Cave Temple rockfall, two injured, one missing

IPOH, Sun:
A man and a woman were injured when a rockfall occurred at the Perak Cave Temple in Jalan Kuala Kangsar this afternoon.

Rescuers are looking for the temple’s security guard who is listed as missing following the rockfall which smashed the staircase at the top of the temple, commonly referred to by locals as Perak Tong.Besides the trio, 16 other people were trapped until police and firemen managed to rescue them three hours after the 3.15pm incident.Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohammad Nizar Jamaluddin, who visited the scene, said rescue work had been stopped temporarily as the situation was too risky at the moment.The guard’s motorcycle had been found parked in the compound of the temple.

“We are waiting for search dogs to be brought in to locate any possible survivors in the cave,” said Nizar.He said any vibrations felt in the cave would put a stop to efforts to locate the guard or anyone else who may have been trapped.One of the injured, a man suffered a broken leg, and appeared to have lost a lot of blood, he was admitted to the Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.The woman, meanwhile, sustained light body injuries. Both were in their 20s.The cave temple, built in 1926, is a popular tourist destination. It has been ordered to close until further instructions.

Among those rescued from the temple were a Nepali and a China citizen, both of whom are working here but had gone sightseeing.Nizar said a team would be set up to investigate the cause of the incident.He said the team would be headed by the director of the geoscience and mineral department, and would include police, firemen and temple committee representatives.Rescuers were alerted by 23-year-old S. Wigneswaran of Sungai Siput, who had been walking down the stairs with a friend when the rockfall occurred.“We heard screams from people and thinking they were in trouble, I called the Fire and Rescue Department from my handphone.”His friend, T. Kugunathan, 24, from Tasek, initially thought it was an explosion at a nearby cement factory.

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