2 Malaysians killed, many injured by earthquake-triggered landslide on Lombok

Damage to a house is seen after an earthquake struck Lombok island in Indonesia on March 17, 2019. PHOTO: BNPB
At least five people have been killed and 30 injured after a 5.4-magnitude earthquake hit Lombok Island on March 17, 2019. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM USGS

JAKARTA (THE STAR AND THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AFP) - At least two people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday (March 17) after an earthquake on the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok triggered a landslide, officials said.

Two Malaysians were confirmed dead, said the Malaysian embassy in Jakarta. It added in a statement that seven other Malaysians sustained injuries, and 13 were safe.

They were part of a group of 22 Malaysians who were at the Tiu Kele Senaru waterfall in North Lombok when the quake happened.

One of the Malaysian victims is Sin Chew Daily's deputy executive editor-in-chief, Datin Tai Siew Kim. Her son, who was with her, was slightly injured and is receiving treatment at a hospital. Ms Tai is also the wife of China Press' editor-in-chief, Datuk Teoh Yang Khoon.

The other Malaysian who was killed has been identified as Mrs Lim Sai Wah, according to the embassy.

Indonesia's Antara news agency reported that rescuers found the body of the second victim wedged between rock debris from the landslide at the Tiu Kelep waterfall.

Antara quoted the public relations officer of the Mataram search and rescue operation, Gusti Lanang Wisnuwandana, as saying that the body of the second Malaysian could not be removed.

"The body of one more person has been found wedged between large rocks, in the vicinity of the Tiu Kelep waterfall. The identity has yet to be ascertained," he said.

The earthquake, which struck around 2.07pm local time, caused a landslide that trapped about 40 tourists at the Tiu Kelep waterfall in Senaru Village, north of Lombok.

The Star reported that the quake was of 5.8-magnitude. The Jakarta Post reported a 5.4-magnitude tremblor.

It has been reported that effects from the earthquake were felt in north Lombok and other areas, as well as in Bali.

"There were about 40 tourists affected by the landslide around the area. Most of the victims were Malaysians and domestic tourists," a spokesman for the North Lombok regency administration said in a statement.

The Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency and the North Lombok Health Agency dispatched four ambulances to the scene, as well as medical and rescue personnel to aid and relocate victims. As of Sunday afternoon, the team had rescued 19 people and recovered two bodies.

Bayan district was one of several areas heavily damaged by a series of earthquakes that jolted the island between July and August last year. More than 500 people were killed while more than 1,500 were injured during that disaster.

According to Bernama, a tourist agent in Mataram, Lombok, known as Pak Arno, said the Malaysian travellers were staying at a hotel in Mataram.

He said the authorities were in the midst of evacuating all victims involved in the incident.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Malaysian Embassy in Jakarta said the embassy was coordinating with local authorities in dealing with the incident.

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