Two people are dead and more than 50 are missing after a landslide struck a campsite in Malaysia early on Friday, officials said, as search-and-rescue personnel scoured the site for survivors.
The landslide in Selangor state, on the outskirts of capital, Kuala Lumpur, occurred about 3 a.m. (1900 GMT) on the side of a road near an organic farm with camping facilities, the state fire and rescue department said in a statement.
A total of 79 people were caught in the landslide and 23 had been found safe, the department said. In addition to the two dead, three were injured and 51 were missing.
The landslide fell from an estimated height of 30 metres (100 ft) above the campsite, and covered an area of about one acre (0.4 hectare), the department’s director, Norazam Khamis, said.
“I pray that the missing victims can be found safely soon,” Malaysia’s minister of natural resources, environment and climate change, Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad, tweeted on Friday morning. “The rescue team has been working since early. I’m going down there today.”
The disaster struck about 50km (30 miles) north of Kuala Lumpur in Batang Kali town, just outside the popular hilltop area of the Genting Highlands, which is known for its resorts and natural beauty.
Pictures posted on the Father’s Organic Farm Facebook page show a farmhouse in a small valley, with a large area where tents can be set up.
Footage from local television showed the aftermath of a landslide through a forested area beside a road, while other images on social media showed rescue workers clambering over thick mud, large trees and other debris.
Selangor is the country’s most affluent state and has suffered landslides before, often attributed to forest and land clearance.
The region is in its rainy season but no heavy rain or earthquakes were recorded overnight.
A year ago, about 21,000 people were displaced by flooding from torrential rain in seven states across the country.