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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 April 2007, 16:59 GMT 17:59 UK
Malaysian saves 100 from sinkhole
By Steve Jackson
BBC News

Map of Malaysia
A Malaysian man paying a late-night visit to the toilet has saved about 100 people from being buried in the rubble of their homes, reports say.

Renjis Empati was visiting an outside lavatory when he noticed part of his communal longhouse collapsing.

He shouted to alert his sleeping neighbours to the danger. Shortly after, the entire building gave way.

Longhouses are large communal buildings used by indigenous groups in the state of Sarawak on the island of Borneo.

It was about 0200 when Mr Empati left the communal longhouse he lived in to answer a call of nature.

Lost possessions

According to reports in the New Straits Times newspaper, he felt the ground slowly moving and noticed part of his kitchen sliding into a sinkhole.

He ran along the side of the building shouting to alert his sleeping neighbours to the danger.

The residents, the occupants of 14 family apartments, managed to get out and shortly afterwards the building collapsed.

Pictures in the newspaper show people climbing through a huge pile of splintered wood and corrugated iron trying to retrieve their possessions.

The local authorities have given the homeless community around $4,000 (2,000) to help with the rebuilding.

Many people have expressed gratitude to Mr Empati for helping to get them out before it was too late.

Country profile: Malaysia
22 Mar 07 |  Country profiles

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