Hornbill Unleashed

October 24, 2013

Three dead after Cameron Highlands dam gate opened

Hafiz Yatim & Lee Way Loon

Two foreigners and a Malaysian have died while one foreigner is missing after a gate at the Cameron Highlands hydro-electric dam was manually opened early this morning.

Cameron Highlands Fire and Rescue Services Department chief Yusri Abdullah Sani said the department was alerted on the casualties at 1.38am.

“A total of 28 personnel are involved in the search-and-rescue operation. So far we have recovered two bodies – a Bangladeshi male, and an Indonesian female. An Indonesian woman is reported missing,” Yusri said.

NONE

“A siren at the Sultan Abu Bakar dam in Ringlet was sounded about midnight to alert residents that water would be released,” he said when contacted.

“The first gate was lifted by four inches. Twenty minutes after the siren was sounded. Those at the dam then released more water from the first gate at 1am, followed by a full release at 2.43am.”

Yusri said the dam staff had to fully open the first gate for fear that the rising water level would reach the maximum level, which would have led to all four gates automatically opening.

He said two foreigners who were swept away by the water had died, while a Malaysian had died of a heart attack. Yusri added the department’s canine unit had been called in to search for the missing Indonesian.

NONEThe Bertam Valley has been flooded with muddy water, affecting 80 houses, he said.

Teja assemblyperson Chang Lih Kang, whose constituency is located adjacent to Cameron Highlands, said on his Facebookaccount: ‘Sad day! Although it’s my birthday, but three dead and one missing at Bertam Valley.

‘Mud flood due to the opening of TNB reservoir’s flood gates. I am at the scene now, death toll might rise. The authority is still checking the cause of the incident.’

‘Notice not given’

When contacted later, Chang said Kampung Baru Bertam Valley was the worst hit area, with more than half of the houses flooded.

NONE“From what I have learnt from the rescue team, three people have died so far – an Indonesian, a Bangladeshi and a Malaysian,” he said.

While the two foreigners drowned in the flood, the Malaysian died of an apparent heart attack during the incident, he said.

A Malaysian who was injured has been admitted to Ipoh Hospital, Chang (left)said.

“It’s a real mess here. Everybody is busy cleaning up. The villagers complained that the authorities did not give notice before opening the flood gate,” Chang said.

“They said the authorities only rang the bell, but that the flooding had started by then. Moreover, it was raining and the elderly could not hear the siren.”

Expressing sadness, Chang said the situation could have been avoided if notice had been given.

NONE“They should have known about the water level rising, and informed the public when this went above the danger line,” he said.

“If we can’t even handle a small thing like this, can you imagine how we would deal with (the) Lynas (rare earths processing plant operations)?”

Bernama quoted Cameron Highlands district police chief Mohd Zahari Wan Busu as identifying the dead as Jahangir, a Bangladeshi in his 30s, and Kesmat, an Indonesian woman aged 46.

Their bodies have been sent to Sultanah Kalsom Hospital in
Tanah Rata.

Mohd Zahari said a Malaysian, Tan Tuck Choi, 51, had suffered a heart attack and died enroute to the hospital there, bringing the death toll to three.

He added a local resident, Ho Kim Way, 38, who had sustained head and body injuries, was warded at the hospital.

“The search for the 17-year-old Indonesian girl is ongoing,” Zahari said.

He said the water had to be released to prevent the dam from ‘bursting’ following continuous rain since 7pm yesterday.

Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent Yusmaizi Zulkifli from Pahang’s Zone Three Fire and Rescue Department said the normal water level at the dam was 3.498 metres.

He said the water was released when its level touched 3.508 metres.

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5 Comments »

  1. Modern dams are better designed but thats not the issue.

    These dams at Cameroon are old. We would have expected an engineer to offer better info for public.

    Comment by Damned dams — October 24, 2013 @ 1:31 PM | Reply

  2. —-
    “A siren at the Sultan Abu Bakar dam in Ringlet was sounded about midnight to alert residents that water would be released,” he said when contacted.

    “The first gate was lifted by four inches. Twenty minutes after the siren was sounded. Those at the dam then released more water from the first gate at 1am, followed by a full release at 2.43am.”—

    Didnt they know earlier at 12.00 noon which would prompt release at 6.00pm, so by gradual release, logically, none of this would have happened.

    Is this a case total neligence or malice?

    Do they engineers or jokers amongst the dam owners? It is unthinkable!!!

    Comment by boh teh — October 24, 2013 @ 10:54 AM | Reply

    • TNB is just like umNo-bn, incompetence and cannot get the jobs done in any aspects!

      Comment by Lazim — October 25, 2013 @ 7:06 PM | Reply

  3. The process of releasing water from a dam ( a kin to opening the flood gate) is a premeditated kind of thing and precautions and steps could easily be taken to avoid such disaster! Lives were lost and property damaged for no valid reason and please don’t even attempt to blame GOD or ALLAH for it is not an act of GOD but rather human incompetency or what the MACC like to classify as stupidity and you can’t charge those responsible for being stupid. Now I am getting more worry about the LYNAS implications !

    Comment by Lazim — October 24, 2013 @ 10:35 AM | Reply

  4. BLOODY HELL! HOLY MACARONI! JUST OPENED THE GATE,WE HAD THE AFTERMATH LIKE THAT.IF THE SAME THING HAS HAPPENED TO THE BAKUN DAM,ALL THE TOWNS ALONG THE REJANG RIVER WOULD FACE THE SAME AFTERMATH.JUST SARAWAK IS GOING TO HAVE MANY DAMS.WHEN ARE WE GOING TO BANGUN,RURAL FOLKS.OPEN YR EYES N EARS,MEN!
    I

    Comment by VINCENT AK PAUL — October 24, 2013 @ 8:29 AM | Reply


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