A landslide occurred on Friday, Dec. 16, at a tourist campground in Malaysia, leaving 16 people dead and 17 others were feared buried at the site.
The site is on an organic farm outside the capital of Kuala Lumpur.
An estimated 94 Malaysians were believed to have been at the campsite in Batang Kali in central Selangor state, around 31 miles north of Kuala Lumpur, when the incident occurred, said district police chief Suffian Abdullah.
He said the death toll has risen to 16, including a five-year-old boy. Seven people have been hospitalized with injuries and rescuers were searching for the estimated 17 missing people, he said.
Another 53 people were rescued without harm.
Suffian said the victims had entered the area, a popular recreational site for locals to pitch or rent tents from the farm, on Wednesday, Dec. 14.
Survivors reportedly said they heard a loud thundering noise before the soil came crashing down.
Leong Jim Meng, 57, was quoted by the New Straits Times English-language daily saying he and his family were awakened by a loud bang “that sounded like an explosion” and felt the earth move.
He told the newspaper: “My family and I were trapped as soil covered our tent. We managed to escape to a carpark area and heard a second landslide happening.”
He said it was surprising because there was no heavy rain in recent days, only light drizzles.
The campsite is located on an organic farm not far from the Genting Highlands hill resort, a popular tourist destination with theme parks and Malaysia’s only casino.