A thunderous crushing of earth and debris killed 18 people at a campsite in Malaysia on Friday, and rescuers dug through the mud for 15 others who were feared buried in the landslide.
More than 90 people were sleeping on an organic farm when earth fell off a road about 30 meters (100 feet) above the site and covered about 1 hectare (3 acres). Two of the dead were found in an embrace, according to the state fire chief.
UTAH NEFFS CANYON AVALANCHE: OFF-DUTY FIREFIGHTERS RESCUE BURIED SKIER ASKING FOR HELP
Authorities told local media that the landowners did not have a license to operate a campsite. At least seven people were hospitalized and dozens more were rescued unharmed, district police chief Suffian Abdullah said.
Leong Jim Meng told the English-language New Straits Times that he and his family were awakened by a loud bang and felt the earth move at the Batang Kali campsite, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the capital. of Kuala Lumpur.
“My family and I were trapped as the ground covered our tent. We managed to escape into a parking lot and heard a second landslide,” the 57-year-old said. He said it was surprising because there hadn’t been heavy rain the last few days, just light drizzle.
It is currently the monsoon rainy season in Malaysia and the country’s government development minister, Nga Kor Ming, said that all campsites nationwide which are near rivers, waterfalls and hills will be closed for a week to assess. the security.
2 ROAD ACCIDENTS IN NEPAL LEAVE AT LEAST 29 DEATHS AND 22 INJURED
The Selangor State Fire Department posted photos of first responders with flashlights digging through the ground and rubble with a backhoe and shovels in the early morning hours. More than 400 people and hunting dogs were involved in search and rescue efforts.
Fire Chief Norazam Khamis was quoted by news portal Free Malaysia Today as saying that two of the bodies found were “embracing” and believed to be mother and daughter.
About 450,000 cubic meters (nearly 16 million cubic feet) of debris – enough to fill 180 Olympic-sized swimming pools – hit the campsite, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, minister of natural resources, environment and climate change, told local media.
NEW YORK CITY FIRE AT POLICE EVIDENCE COMPOUND LEAVES 8 INJURED, INCLUDING 6 FIRST EYES
Suffian, the district police chief, said the victims entered the area, a popular recreational spot for locals to pitch or rent tents from the farm, on Wednesday. The campsite is not far from the hillside resort of Genting Highlands, a popular tourist destination with theme parks and Malaysia’s only casino.
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim is expected to visit the site late Friday evening.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
Nga told local media that the camp has been operating illegally for the past two years. The operator has government approval to operate an organic farm but is not licensed for camping activities, he said. If found guilty, Nga warned that the camp operator could face up to three years in prison and a fine.
Some families with small children who were rescued took refuge in a nearby police station. Access to roads leading to the area has been blocked.