KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Police say two landslides that hit a Malaysian orphanage killed 15 boys and one adult but nine other people survived.
District police chief Abdul Rashid Wahab says the bodies of 15 boys, aged 8 to 18, and a 34-year-old caretaker have been recovered. He says six boys and three wardens who were critically injured have been hospitalized.
He said Sunday that the last victim was pulled out more than 12 hours after tons of earth crashed through the orphanage in central Selangor state on Saturday.
Heavy rain had likely caused the landslide that hit the orphanage for ethnic Malay Muslim boys in a rural village in central Selangor state, he said. Rain was still falling in the evening and hampering rescue work by some 200 firefighters, police and others.
"They just had lunch at the tent by the side of the house when two landslides apparently occurred at the same time. The tent collapsed, burying 24 people as they did not have time to escape," he told The Associated Press.
"Rescuers have to dig using their hands and other equipment because the soil surrounding is very soft due to the rain," he said, adding the search would continue for another nine children and three orphanage staff.
A small stream runs nearby the orphanage, a huge three-story house at a foothill in a sleepy village in Selangor. The house wasn't damaged but was partly covered in sludge. Several tall trees fell along with the landslide.
Several houses near the orphanage have been told to evacuate amid concerns of further landslides, Abdul Rashid said.
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.
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