February 8, 2023

Juan Kabayan

All the News All the Time

Malaysia campsite landslide search ends with 31 dead

Rescuers have called off the search for bodies after a massive, predawn landslide blanketed a campsite north of Malaysia’s capital killing 31 people, officials said on Saturday.

According to police, 92 people, including dozens of children, were sleeping at the unlicensed campsite at an organic farm in Batang Kali, Selangor state on December 16 when tonnes of soil and mud thundered down a hill.

All of those killed were Malaysian nationals, including 11 children, while 61 campers were rescued.

“We found the last body, that of a boy,” senior rescue official Hafisham Mohamad Noor told AFP.

“We will end our search and rescue operations.”

Many of the victims were families enjoying year-end holidays.

Two of the deceased, a mother and her toddler daughter, were found hugging each other, while a man was uncovered still clutching his dog.

Nearly 700 personnel from different government agencies and the emergency services, backed by police tracker dogs and earthmoving machines, trawled through mud and debris to search for survivors and bodies.

The farm did not have a licence to operate a campsite, according to authorities.

Landslides are common in Malaysia after heavy rains that regularly punctuate the end of the year.

However, no heavy rain was recorded in the Batang Kali area on the night of the landslide.

In March, four people were killed after a landslide buried their homes in a Kuala Lumpur suburb.

In one of the deadliest such incidents, a mudslide in 1993 brought on by heavy rain caused a 12-storey residential building outside the capital to collapse, killing 48 people.