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Search continues for 9 campers caught in Malaysia landslide



A rescuer crew member pats a sniffer dog being used to aid in the search for victims of the landslide in Batang Kali, Selangor, Malaysia, December 17, 2022. REUTERS/Hasnoor Hussain

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) – The search for missing campers caught in a deadly landslide at an unlicensed campsite in Malaysia continued for a third day on Sunday, with the fire department saying the chance of finding survivors is slim.

At least 24 people died after a landslide tore through a campsite early on Friday while campers slept in tents at Batang Kali, a popular hilly area about 50km (30 miles) north of capital Kuala Lumpur.

Of the 94 people caught in the landslide, 61 were safe and nine still missing, the Selangor state fire and rescue department said. Those killed included seven children.

Responders have deployed excavators and rescue dogs to search for people trapped under mud and debris, while heavy rain has raised concern of further landslides.

State fire and rescue chief Norazam Khamis said the chance of finding more survivors was slim given the lack of oxygen and weight of mud pressing down on the site.

An initial investigation showed an embankment of around 450,000 cubic metres of earth had collapsed. The earth fell from an estimated height of 30 metres (100 ft) and covered an area of about an acre (0.4 hectares).

Landslides are common in Malaysia but typically occur only after heavy rain. Flooding is also common, with about 21,000 people displaced last year by torrential rain in seven states.