Retrieval of Gunung Tabai victim to resume tomorrow

Rescuers attempting to enter the tunnel in the cave to retrieve Mat Tapa’s body

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BAU, March 25: Rescuers were unable to retrieve the body of Mat Tapa, 26, who was trapped and crushed to death by rocks in a tunnel inside a cave in Gunung Tabai.

Despite spending the whole day of search and rescue (SAR) operation today, rescuers consist of firefighters and local villagers faced extreme difficulties to retrieve Mat who was buried under rocks in a tunnel about 80m deep.

Sarawak Fire and Rescue (Bomba) department director Khirudin Drahman disclosed that it was a high-risk operation as the ground is very unstable and dangerous.

As at 6pm today, Bomba commanding officer PKPgB Tawang Lingem reported that the deceased’s right leg, shoulder and head were still stuck under the rubble and rescue team are still working hard to remove the body.

Rescuers attempting to enter the tunnel in the cave to retrieve Mat Tapa’s body

The department received an emergency call at 9.10am yesterday (March 24) that three men had gone missing in Gunung Tabai.

The trio were believed to have gone to look for gold as early as 5.30am on March 23, but failed to return home.

While inside the tunnel, a cave-in occurred due to soil movement, trapping the men.

Two of them were rescued alive and brought out of the cave at 4.40pm yesterday.

Rescuers managed to enter the narrow tunnel and found Mat’s body.

However, they had to stop SAR operation at 5pm because the location of the body was too dangerous for them to continue.

Bau district police chief DSP Poge Nyaon disclosed that the cave located some 4km from Kampung Bijuray is an area that attracted gold prospectors from all over.

He said that the mine was a restricted area .— DayakDaily