JAKARTA — One person is missing and feared dead following a series of landslides near the site of a planned hydropower plant in the only known habitat of the critically endangered Tapanuli orangutan in Sumatra. Heavy rains triggered an initial landslide on Dec. 3 in the Batang Toru forest in North Sumatra province, Indonesian officials said. On Dec. 4, Afuan Ritonga, a 38-year-old local, was taking part in a cleanup effort at the site when another, bigger landslide, struck. The torrent of mud swept Afuan and the excavator he was in down the 200-meter (660-foot) slope and into the Batang Toru River, where they were swept away by the heavy current. The excavator was reportedly later discovered downstream, but Afuan is still missing, with a search-and-rescue operation now underway. “The heavy equipment is still at the bottom of the river and hasn’t been retrieved yet,” Ilham Suhardi, the head of the district disaster mitigation agency, said Dec. 6 as quoted by news outlet Berita Satu. “A joint team hasn’t been able to determine the fate of the operator [Afuan].” Search-and-rescue team tries to locate Afuan Ritonga, 38, who is missing and feared to be dead after he was swept into the Batang Toru River by a torrent of mud on Dec. 4. Image courtesy of PT North Sumatra Hydro Energy (NSHE). According to a report about the landslides in a database managed by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, the site of the incident is located in an area…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer