Rescuers using an excavator in the search for Faridah Jompah, 40, and her 8-year-old niece, Nisdawati Jamal, after their house was buried in a landslide early yesterday. Pix by Mohd Nazryn Hisham

Lahad Datu, 18 February 2012

A WOMAN and her niece were killed in a landslide that destroyed their house in Kampung Terusan in the wee hours of the morning yesterday.

The bodies of Faridah Jompah, 40, and her 8-year-old niece, Nisdawati Jamal, were found buried in the house after nine hours of searching.

They and five other family members, including a toddler, were fast asleep when the  incident occurred at 1.30am.

Faridah’s 24-year-old son, Suhardi Masdar, said he was sleeping in the living room when he was awakened by the “sound of a huge crash” coming from the hill just behind the house.

“A few seconds later, I felt the house shaking and immediately woke the rest.”

Suhardi said the  incident happened so quickly that his mother and cousin could not escape in time. Faridah’s husband, Masdar Naning, 50, suffered a broken leg when he was swept away by the earth.

Suhardi and three others in the house — his sister Mariam, brother Mohd Azizul, 15, and 4-month-old Nurasheema Humaira Abd Rashid — escaped unhurt.

It was learnt that the landslide  took place following a continuous downpour since Friday night.

District Fire and Rescue Department chief Mohd Apandi Mahmod said the department received a distress call at 2.53am and deployed eight firemen to the scene.

“When we arrived, several villagers were already there to help search for the missing victims.

“The landslide buried nearly half    the house, making it difficult to find the victims,” he said, adding that  the search and rescue operation also involved Civil Defence Department personnel.

Apandi said the body of Nisdawati was retrieved at 10.55am while Faridah’s was discovered 15 minutes later.

Read more: Woman, niece die in landslide – Top News – New Straits Times