16 killed, 17 missing as landslide hits campsite in Malaysia

Search and rescue operation launched after incident in Batang Kali in central Selangor state

Riyaz ul Khaliq   |

ISTANBUL – At least 16 people were killed and over a dozen were buried when a landslide swept through a tourist campground outside Malaysia’s capital of Kuala Lumpur in the early hours of Friday morning.

A massive search and rescue operation was launched after a landslide hit the tourists’ campsite at 3 a.m. local time (1900GMT) at the organic farm in Batang Kali in central Selangor state, about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, killing at least 16 people and leaving 17 missing, said an official statement.

Malaysia’s Ministry of Housing and Local Government said on Twitter: “16 people have been confirmed dead while 17 others are still missing.”

Authorities have halted all outdoor recreational activities near the scene of the fatal incident, Father’s Organic Farm. The victims are said to have entered the popular local recreation area on Wednesday.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has directed that all government units conduct a “thorough and systematic” rescue operation.

Malaysian Interior Minister Saifuddin Nasution Ismail told reporters on the site that all outdoor recreational activities around Batang Kali have been prohibited.

“We will review this (registration status) later,” he said, adding that “Our priority is to find the remaining victims.”

While the authorities were still confirming the total number of people at the site, records available with the campsite owners revealed “94.”

“There was a possibility that the number could change. “(For instance) in a family of five, maybe only the wife registered her name on behalf of the rest,” the minister explained.

Some officials said there is “no sign of any impending landslide as it had not rained heavily in the area for the past two days.”

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