As the search enters the third day, first responders are still going on to look for 9 more victims who are still missing after Friday’s landslide at a campsite in Gohtong Raya.
In an interview with BERNAMA, a first responder has shared his first-hand account of search and rescue (SAR) operations in the area.
Experienced first responder Mohd Firdaus Abd Samad said that he was initially shocked to find out that there were a hundred victims in the landslide that hit the Father’s Organic Farm campsite.
The 17-year veteran of the Hulu Selangor district Civil Defence Force (CDF) said that the number was what hit him the hardest as he and his colleagues made their way to the site of the incident to begin SAR operations to locate and save the victims.
“When I was on duty at the Hulu Selangor district operations centre last Friday, we received a call from the MERS 999 about the incident at around 2.30 am. I immediately contacted the fire and rescue station for confirmation as I could not believe that the number of victims had exceeded 100 people.”
“After receiving confirmation from the authorities including the police, I along with CDF officer Hilmi Husman and 5 other personnel rushed to the incident site,” he said.
Firdaus said that rescue efforts were already underway when they arrived, with personnel from other security teams spread out across the area responding to calls for help from the victims all around in the darkness.
“As we began to deploy for the SAR operation, I saw a few victims coming out of the landslide area on their own heading towards safety. Several of them used their flashlights to signal for help,” Firdaus explained.
According to him, everyone had to wade through ankle-deep mud and the slippery conditions made it hard for them to move to assist victims, and always at the back of everyone’s mind was the fear that another landslide would occur.
“There was a very sad situation when a male victim told us that his wife and child were trapped in their car that was buried by the landslide. He shouted to his wife to continue to press the car horn so that we could locate her easier.”
“We made our way in the dark through piles of earth, strewn with half-buried cars and other debris, guided by the sounds of the horn. Before long, we managed to find the car in question, and sure enough, his wife and child were there,” he said.
“The wife, even in her weak condition, urged us to save her child first. When we managed to get to the child, I immediately held them in my arms. But it was at that moment that I realised the child had already died. It was clear he was pale, cold and did not have a pulse,” he shared.
Mohd Firdaus said that his long years of experience as a first responder kicked in naturally, allowing him and his team to remain calm as they extricated the child and the mother.
As of yesterday evening, 24 victims were confirmed dead with 9 still missing out of a total of 94 victims, based on official police information.
We hope and pray that the remaining 9 victims are found soon.
Also read: Batang Kali Landslide: M’sian Father Visits 3 Different Hospitals to Look For His Son, But to No Avail