Batang Kali landslide: Sniffer dogs in SAR op to be rotated after K9 unit's Blake burns out

  • Nation
  • Sunday, 18 Dec 2022

A Fire and Rescue Dept K9 unit handler pictured with Grouse, one of the sniffer dogs in the mission to locate Batang Kali landslide victims. The dogs have been working tirelessly since Dec 16 to help find the missing. – BERNAMApic

BATANG KALI: While many images have emerged of search and rescue (SAR) workers ceaselessly searching for landslide victims here, many do not depict their silent companions who are just as stretched and exhausted.

The SAR team's best friend, the (K9) dog detection unit, has also been working tirelessly in the operation to locate buried victims at the Father's Organic Farm campsite since Friday (Dec 16).

ALSO READ: Batang Kali landslide: Ground-penetrating radar deployed to help locate missing victims

Grim-faced, ferocious on command with a keen sense of smell thousands of times more acute than humans, these four-legged heroes' task is to search for victims in any conditions – through thick mud, slush or rain.

At one point in the SAR mission, Blake – an English springer spaniel – keeled over from exhaustion.

According to Selangor Fire and Rescue Department director Datuk Norazam Khamis, the canine passed out after two consecutive days of working and has now been rested.

"After two days of slogging past the allotted time, they (detection dogs) badly need rest to recuperate though they are not injured.

"That’s why at this stage, we will rotate them," he told the media on Sunday (Dec 18).

ALSO READ: Death toll reaches 24 as search continues for nine still missing

Norazam said so far, 11 tracker dogs have been deployed to help in the search. Six belong to the department, four to the police, and one to the Army.

"We may ask for an increase if necessary,” he said.

As of Sunday, 24 victims have been confirmed dead out of a total of 94 people involved in the landslide tragedy at the campsite in Gohtong Jaya on Jalan Genting-Batang Kali.

A total of 61 people survived while nine are still missing. The search resumed at 9am Sunday after being called off at 9pm Saturday. – Bernama

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