The landslide that hit the Father’s Organic Farm campsite in Gohtong Jaya during the wee hours of Friday (16 December) shocked many Malaysians, and it remains fresh in our minds despite many days having passed.
Speaking to Bernama, the first responder to the incident, Mohd Firdaus Abd Samad said a hundred victims were simply too large a number for his department to handle.
The 17-year veteran of the Hulu Selangor district Civil Defence Force (JPAM) said the most difficult part for he and his colleagues was to make their way to the scene to begin the search and rescue (SAR) operations.
“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 JPAM officer Hilmi Husman and five other personnel rushed to the incident site,” he said.
He then said that the rescue efforts were already underway when they arrive, with personnel from other security teams spread out across the area responding to calls for help from the victims.
“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,” Mohd Firdaus said.
I realise the child did not have a pulse
Mohd Firdaus shared that the scene was horrible, with everyone wading through ankle-deep mud. He added that the slippery conditions made it difficult for them to move to assist victims, and everybody was afraid of another landslide would occur in an instant.
“There was a very sad situation when a man 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.”
“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 the child 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 shared that despite the tragedy, his long years of experience as a first responder allowed he and his team to remain calm as they extricated the child and the mother.
As the rescue team continues their efforts to look for the remaining victims, we hope for nothing but relieving news for the remaining victims, and hopefully.