KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Two landslides that hit a Malaysian orphanage killed 15 boys and one adult but nine other people survived, police said today.
District police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab said the bodies of 15 boys, aged 8 to 18, and a 34-year-old caretaker had been recovered. Six boys and three wardens who were critically injured in Saturday’s landslides have been hospitalized, he said.
Abdul Rashid said the last rescued victim, a 9-year-old boy, was pulled out nearly eight hours after tons of earth crashed through the orphanage for ethnic Malay Muslim boys in a sleepy village in central Selangor state.
Though it wasn’t raining when the landslides occurred Saturday afternoon, wet weather in the past few days was the likely cause, he said.
The 25 people buried by the landslides were among 49 who were attending a motivational camp at the orphanage, he said.
“They just had lunch at the tent by the side of the house when two landslides apparently occurred seconds after each other,” Abdul Rashid said. “The tent collapsed, burying 25 people as they did not have time to escape.”
Mohamad Hambali Ismail, a warden at the orphanage, told local media that the children were preparing to receive visitors when the earth shook.
“I heard a loud noise. Suddenly the earth was chasing me. I had to run to save myself,” Hambali, 34, told the Malay-language Berita Harian newspaper.