BENTONG: Clearing works at the site of the landslide are expected to be completed by 10 am tomorrow, says the Works Ministry.
In a statement, the ministry said that was the earliest expected time for the landslide to be cleared.
Four vehicles were caught when the landslide occured at 6.45pm today.
In all, nine people traveling in a VW Polo, a Mini Cooper, a Toyota Estima, a Perodua Myvi and a trailer were hit by the slope which collapsed after heavy rain.
However, it was learnt that all the occupants of the vehicles managed to escape even before rescuers arrived.
Earlier, Fire and Rescue vehicles had difficulty reaching the site due to motorists hogging the emergency lanes.
Several fire trucks racing to the scene were desperately trying to get the lanes cleared to reach the location, sources told the NST.
The Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) also said two excavators and a loader shovel were also trapped in traffic.
The Works Ministry clarified that the site was in the midst of being cleared by a backhoe and a loader shovel that had already arrived at the scene.
".. A few other vehicles will also arrive at the scene soon. It is still raining heavily at the location, and care has to be taken as there may be more soil movement," said the Works Ministry in the statement earlier this evening.
The statement also said that four vehicles were involved in the landslide, and that there were no injuries.
"The Bentong IPD had closed down route FT86 entirely because there is soil movement. The Bentong toll plaza has also been closed," added the statement.
Bentong police have said there are no casualties reported so far. However, reports emerged earlier of at least four cars buried in the landslide.
Such reports have yet to be verified by the authorities. Efforts to reach the site by journalists are also hindered by the traffic crawl.
Bentong OCPD Supt Mansor Mohd Nor told the NST that there were no casualties.
"At 1845, at KM52.5 of the KL-Karak Highway, a landslide occurred causing both lanes to be closed to all traffic. It did not involve property or lives. At 2000hrs, an MTD bulldozer arrived to clear the area," he said.
Earlier, sources from the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department said a Special Tactical Operation Rescue Malaysian (STORM) team was on its way to the location.
The landslide occurred at KM52.4 near Lentang- Bukit Tinggi following heavy rain.
Anih Berhad when contacted confirmed a total closure of the road to ensure safety of the motorists.
All motorists Kuala Lumpur bound were directed to exit at Bentong while motorists from East-coast bound were directed to exit at Genting Sempah.
The Malaysian Highway Authority (LLM) in a tweet at 7.04pm said traffic both ways was reduced to a crawl.
A motorist returning to Kuala Lumpur, who wanted only to be knows as Reza told the NST that he was redirected back to Bentong by highway personnel just as he exited the Bentong toll plaza.
“We were lucky that we saw the massive traffic jam before we became stuck in it. Otherwise, we would have been caught in it as well,” he said.
Meanwhile, in a tweet at 8.11pm, LLM said police had clarified that route FR68 could not be used at all, and motorists should postpone their journeys.
At 8.15pm, another LLM tweet stated that motorists from KL can make a U-turn at KM29.3 of the KL-Karak Highway while those from Kuantan can exit Karak and use Jalan Bahau.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak voiced his concern for the safety of the road users involved on social media.
"I was made to understand that there are a few vehicles buried by a landslide on the Karak Highway. Rescue work must be carried out immediately. I hope other road users near the scene are safe. Please be calm while the authorities clear traffic. Obey their orders," he said.
Several motorists who were caught unaware tweeted pictures from the site of what appeared to be fallen trees and mud flowing from the hill, blocking access from both bounds.
Leonidas ® @cr7ryzal said: “Karak highway tanah runtuh.. Ya Allah permudahkanlah urusan mereka semua.. (Karak Highway landslide.. May Allah grant ease for their affairs).”
Michael Cheah @mickcom said “Karak highway collapse, the road link totally interrupt (disrupted), cannot (get) across.
Fire and Rescue vehicles are finding it difficult to reach the site due to motorists hogging the emergency lanes. Several fire trucks racing to the scene are desperately trying to get the lanes cleared to reach the location, sources told the NST.
More to come
Reports by Nuradzimmah Daim, Hariz Mohd, Nor Ain Mohamed Radhi, Aliza Shah and Zahratulhayat Mat Arif