Three people died while a teenager is missing after the gates of the Sultan Abu Bakar hydroelectric dam in Cameron Highlands were opened today, flooding farms in Ringlet and surrounding areas.
About 80 houses on the fringes of the Bertam River were swept away by strong currents after water was released from the dam early this morning, reported Bernama.
Two foreign nationals drowned in the incident while another is still missing.
Present at the scene was Teja assemblyperson Chang Lik Kang who posted about the incident on his Facebook page.
He wrote: “Mud flood due to opening of TNB reservoirs’ flood gates. I am at the scene now, death toll might rise.”
Cameron Highlands district police chief, DSP Mohd Zahari Wan Busu, said the dead were identified as Bangladeshi Jahangir, in his 30s, and an Indonesian woman, Kesmat, 46.
He also reportedly said a 51-year-old local identified as Tam Tuck Choi died on his way to the hospital in Tanah Rata after a heart attack due to the incident.
"The search for a 17-year-old Indonesian girl is ongoing," he said, adding that another person was injured in the incident.
He said the dam water in Ringlet had to be released to prevent the dam from bursting following continuous rain since 7pm yesterday. About 100 vehicles were also badly damaged in the incident.
"The first release of water at the dam was made at midnight followed by another at 1am and the third at 2.45am, causing water in the Bertam River nearby to suddenly overflow its banks," he said.
He also said 20 families in the area were evacuated to the Ringlet community hall.
A search and rescue operation was launched at 7.30am, with 243 rescue personnel involved in the operation, he added. – October 23, 2013.