Malaysia Landslide Leaves 16 Dead, 17 Missing at Campground


District police chief Suffian Abdullah said an estimated 94 Malaysians were believed to be at the campsite at Batang Kali, in central Selangor state, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, when the incident occurred.

He said the death toll had risen to 16, including a five-year-old boy. Seven people were hospitalized with injuries, and rescuers called 17 people who were presumed missing, the official said. 53 more people were rescued unharmed.

Suffian said the victims entered the area, which is a popular recreation area, on Wednesday where locals set up tents or rent from the farm. More than 400 personnel, including track dogs, participated in the search and rescue efforts.

In this photo provided by the Civil Defense Department, Civil Defense personnel search for missing persons after a landslide hit a campsite in Batang Kali, Malaysia, on Friday. A landslide occurred at the campsite outside Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Friday, the Malaysian fire department said in a statement.

Malaysia Civil Defense via AP

The Selangor fire department said firefighters began arriving at the scene half an hour after receiving a distress call at 2:24 am. The landslide fell from the roadside from an estimated height of 30 meters (98 feet) and is about three acres (1.2 ha). He posted photos of rescuers digging the earth and rubble with flashlights in the early morning hours.

Some families with rescued young children took shelter in a nearby police station. Survivors reportedly said they heard a loud rumbling sound before the ground subsided.

Leong Jim Meng, 57, quoted the English daily newspaper The New Straits Times, saying that he and his family woke up to a loud explosion that “sounded like an explosion” and felt the world move.

“My family and I were stranded when earth covered our tent. “We managed to escape to a parking lot and we heard that there was a second landslide,” he said. He said this is surprising because there has been no heavy rain in the last few days, only light drizzle.

The campground is located on an organic farm not far from the hill resort of Genting Highlands, a popular tourist destination with theme parks and Malaysia’s only casino. Access to roads leading to the area is blocked.

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