Explosion at Kuching shopping mall kills at least 3, injures 32

KUCHING: An explosion at a shopping mall in the Malaysian state of Sarawak on Tuesday (Dec 4) killed at least three people and injured 32 others, Bernama news agency reported. 

Seven of those injured are in critical condition.

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Efforts were also under way to free two people trapped under a collapsed wall, The Malaysian Insight reported.

The gas explosion at CityONE Megamall in Kuching happened at around 3.30pm.

Firefighter rescuing victims of an explosion at CityONE Megamall in Kuching on Dec 4, 2018. (Photo: Bernama)

“We scrambled 39 officers to the scene. We are investigating the cause of the explosion. It is one of the worst tragedies in the state in years. But it is not a bomb,” said Wan Abdul Mubin, head of the fire rescue department in the state capital Kuching.

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A statement by Sarawak authorities said the blast occurred at the NeNe Chicken fast food restaurant which was being renovated. The cause of the blast is being investigated, it added. 

Firefighters and police officers have been deployed to the scene, the statement said.

Videos of the scene have been circulating on social media, with one of them showing a hoarding with “NeNe Chicken” printed on it being torn apart in the blast. 

Another video uploaded by Bernama shows the ground floor of the shopping mall strewn with debris. Shouting and screaming can also be heard.

“I was purchasing a pizza in front of the shop when suddenly a strong explosion occurred,” George Sting, 39, told Bernama.

“The workers in the shop immediately ran out,” he said, adding that some were seriously injured.

Rescuers evacuate an injured woman after the explosion at the City One Megamall in Kuching which killed three people AFP/-

Photos circulating on social media also show some victims bleeding from the head. Several casualties also had their clothes torn by the force of the explosion. 

At least one casualty suffered burns to his face and hands.

Photos circulating on social media show several injured victims. (Photo: Facebook/Kamek Miak Sarawak)

Debris strewn on the ground after the explosion at CityONE Megamall. (Photo: Facebook/Kamek Miak Sarawak)

A witness described hearing a loud explosion and feeling the whole building shake. (Photo: Facebook/Shahrel Al Hafize)

Most of the people injured are believed to be mall employees and workers renovating the food outlet, The Malaysian Insight reported. 

A witness described hearing a loud explosion and feeling the whole building shake, the report added. 

Another eyewitness, Grace Lee, 23, told Bernama that there was an announcement by the mall management telling visitors to leave the premises immediately. 

The explosion also caused tables at a pizza restaurant to “fly”, said eyewitness Wina Simon.


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