Selangor Journal
Rescuers work during a rescue and evacuation operation following a landslide at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite in Batang Kali, on December 17, 2022. — Picture by REUTERS

SAR team almost gave up looking for final victim — Fire Dept

BATANG KALI, Dec 25 — Entering the ninth day of the search and rescue mission yesterday, team members had almost given up and lost hope of finding the last victim of the landslide tragedy at the Father’s Organic Farm campsite.

With excavations having been carried out in all sectors of the site and chances of locating the body getting slimmer, the personnel gathered whatever strength they could muster before finally making the discovery in the evening.

The body of a boy was found in a sleeping bag about 1.5m under the rubble in sector A (hill view) at 4.53 pm.

Recounting the experience, Selangor Fire and Rescue Department operations assistant director Hafisham Mohd Noor said although the boy’s father and sister were found there on the first day of the operations (Dec 16), they could not locate the boy even after repeated excavations in the area.

He said as hopes waned, a breakthrough occurred when a team member noticed a strange liquid flowing in sector A.

“When the firemen dug, the body of a boy in a sleeping bag was found.

“The last victim was the most difficult because we had already done excavations there repeatedly, but with God’s permission we finally found the body,” he told Bernama when met at the site.

Hafisham said the most challenging part of the SAR operation was when rescuers had to dig seven metres deep to retrieve four bodies of a family.

“All of them were found rolled up in a tent along with the tent equipment.

“Alhamdulillah, I thank God that the SAR operation went smoothly and thank all the other rescuers involved,” he said.

Meanwhile, a Bernama survey today found that the control post at the scene was closed at noon today and rescuers were beginning to pack up.

Technical work was still ongoing, however, with some heavy machinery such as excavators still present.

A total of 92 victims were involved in the tragedy that occurred in the wee hours of Dec 16, with 61 of them surviving.

The heartbreaking incident claimed the lives of 18 adults and 13 children with 20 bodies found in sector A, one in sector B (farm view) and another 10 in sector C (riverside).

A force of more than 250 rescue personnel from various agencies was involved, in addition to tracking dogs from the K9 unit.

— Bernama

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