Malaysia finds body of young boy - last person unaccounted for - in campsite landside

Rescuers work during a rescue and evacuation operation following a landslide at a campsite in Batang Kali, Selangor, Malaysia, on Dec 17, 2022.
PHOTO: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR - Rescue teams in Malaysia on Saturday (Dec 24) recovered the body of the last person unaccounted for after a landslide that flattened a campsite last week, bringing what is thought to be the final death toll to 31.

The landslide occurred in the early hours of Dec 15 at Batang Kali, a popular hilly area about 50km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur, while campers were asleep in their tents, tearing down a hillside and into an organic farm that officials said was not licensed to operate as a campsite.

Among the victims were 11 children and 14 women, according to the fire and rescue department. Of the 92 people initially trapped in the landslide, 61 people were found safe.

Rescue workers, in their ninth day of search operations, found the body of a boy in a sleeping bag while digging through mud and debris, Hulu Selangor police chief Suffian Abdullah said. The boy was estimated to be around seven years old.

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Suffian said they believe all victims have now been found, but search operations will continue to assist in investigations.

Initial investigations found that the earth fell from an estimated height of 30 metres (100 ft) and covered an area of about eight acres.

Landslides are common in Malaysia but typically only after heavy rains. Flooding occurs often, with more than 72,000 people displaced so far this year by torrential rains nationwide.