Belfast Telegraph

Holiday retreat idyllic but with many lurking dangers

Nora’s aunt Eadaoin Agnew (centre) reads a statement as her sister Aisling and brother Micheal look on
Nora’s aunt Eadaoin Agnew (centre) reads a statement as her sister Aisling and brother Micheal look on
Claire McNeilly

By Claire McNeilly

The Dusun tropical rainforest retreat is a popular 12-acre orchard in the foothills of the Titiwnaja mountains, around 65 kilometres from Kuala Lumpur, but "it feels like miles from anywhere", according its website.

Located in an isolated area, 800 feet above sea level in the picturesque mountain range, the holiday complex, comprising six houses, has the capacity for just 20 guests.

Holidaymakers basking in the peaceful nature reserve will find themselves about 20 minutes from the nearest town and the terrain, while beautiful, will be rather inhospitable in places.

"The Dusun experience is a relaxing off-the-grid experience with plenty of privacy and gorgeous views," boasts its homepage.

"It's perfect for families and couples looking to spend quality time. We don't have TV, so do bring a book, music and board games if you like.

"The Dusun is a self-catering nature retreat. We do not have services after 7pm except in emergencies.

"Each house has a fully equipped kitchen and barbecue, you're welcome to bring your own food and drinks. We do offer meals for lunch and dinner by pre-order (last dinner order is at 4pm).

"Our houses are spread out over five acres, so WiFi is only on the dining patio."

Child security expert Jim Gamble, who has been examining the location, said that while there was "some security apparatus around it" there was "nothing to say that it is fundamentally secure".

"The outlook from the resort is exactly what you would imagine," the former policeman added.

"It's facing on to the most beautiful landscape - but it's a jungle landscape.

"There are sheer drops, lots of water, all sorts of spiders, snakes and animals... so that particular outlook from the holiday villa whilst beautiful on the one hand, it represents significant risks to a young and vulnerable person like Nora."

He also pointed out some potential difficulties with the terrain for those traversing the area.

"The will be sheer drops in certain places... you have to consider the nature of the undergrowth, which may be thick and hard to penetrate, and you can step on something and then slide down tens of feet, maybe more," he said.

"Don't forget there will be animals there, maybe monsoon drains and there will be water.

"We shouldn't underestimate any of that... even over a search area that is relatively small we shouldn't underestimate the vast geography involved or the difficulty of engaging in that."

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