4 chil­dren drown in river, 3 miss­ing

8 boys fall into mon­soon drain; 4 drown, 3 oth­ers still miss­ing

New Straits Times - - Front Page -

RAWANG

TRAGEDY struck eight friends at the start of the school hol­i­days yes­ter­day when four of them drowned, an­other three miss­ing and one sur­vived after they were swept away dur­ing a fish­ing trip.

The eight, aged be­tween 9 and 12, were be­lieved to have gone fish­ing when they fell into a mon­soon drain be­fore be­ing washed away by a sud­den gush of water from a nearby hill­top pond.

It took place at Kg Timah SKC, Bukit Beruntung, near the Bukit Beruntung Golf And Coun­try Club at 5.45pm.

All eight were pupils of Seko­lah Ren­dah Ta­man Bunga Raya 1 and came from the nearby res­i­den­tial area of Ta­man Bunga Raya.

At press time, the miss­ing were iden­ti­fied as Muham­mad Ai­man Ka­marul Arif­fin, 12, Mohd Iskan­dar Shah Ab­dul­lah, 11, and Amirul Hakimi Khairul Amru, 9.

The vic­tims who drowned in­cluded two broth­ers — Shahrizwan Ab­dul­lah, 10, and Shahrizat Ab­dul­lah, 12. The bod­ies of the broth­ers were the first to be re­cov­ered at 6.44pm. The other vic­tims re­cov­ered were Mohd Ikhwan Mohd Rid­hwan, 10, at 9.47pm and Mohd Ai­man Fitri Md Aswadi, 12, at 9.58pm.

Muham­mad Shahir Az­man, 12, the sole sur­vivor was res­cued and im­me­di­ately alerted peo­ple nearby, who, in turn, in­formed the au­thor­i­ties.

The teen has since been sent to Kuala Kubu Baru Hos­pi­tal.

Muhamad Ashabudin, who res­cued Shahir, was pass­ing by the area when he heard cries for help, which he thought came from a goat.

“I thought I heard a goat but when I looked down from the bridge, I saw a child hold­ing on to a pole,” said the Bangladeshi.

The 26-year-old im­me­di­ately went to his farm nearby to get a rope to save the vic­tim.

“I threw the rope to­wards him. He grabbed it but the rope kept slip­ping from his hands. I then asked him to wrap the rope around his right hand and once he did that, sev­eral of my friends and I pulled him up,” he said at the scene.

As Shahir was pulled up from the mon­soon drain, he told Ashabudin that his friends were washed away.

A team com­pris­ing two of­fi­cers and 19 per­son­nel from the Fire and Res­cue De­part­ment and po­lice rushed to the scene of the in­ci­dent and be­gan con­duct­ing search and res­cue.

Se­lan­gor Fire and Res­cue De­part­ment deputy di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions Mohd Sani Harul said res­cuers re­cov­ered the bod­ies of two vic­tims at 6.44pm.

The bod­ies were re­cov­ered 50m from the spot where they fell into the river, he said, adding that tracker dogs were dis­patched in the search.

Hulu Se­lan­gor po­lice chief Su­per­in­ten­dent R. Supra­ma­niam said the search area had been ex­panded after the fourth vic­tim was found about 4km away from the lo­ca­tion they ini­tially fell.

“We will search (within the 5km) ra­dius un­til to­mor­row morn­ing. If there is no pos­i­tive sign, we will go fur­ther,” he told the New Straits Times.

The search-and-res­cue team, he said, had in­stalled a net­ting at 6.30pm in a bid to stop the vic­tims from be­ing washed away fur­ther than the ra­dius.

“We are pray­ing that they are still within the ra­dius,” he said.

Deputy Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter P. Ka­malanathan ad­vised par­ents to keep tabs on their chil­dren, es­pe­cially dur­ing school hol­i­days and rainy sea­son.

“Please keep them at home,” said the Hulu Se­lan­gor mem­ber of par­lia­ment last night as he con­soled the vic­tims’ fam­ily mem­bers at the search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tion’s site.

Ka­malanathan said he knew the par­ents and that most of them were mid­dle-in­come earn­ers.

“They were nice kids. I vis­ited the fam­i­lies of­ten. I will help the familes.”

He ex­pressed his con­do­lences to the fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims and thanked the search-and res­cue-team for their com­mit­ment in search­ing for the boys.

PIC BY SYARAFIQ ABD SAMAD

Po­lice­men and fire­men plac­ing the body of one of the drowned vic­tims into a van in Bukit Beruntung yes­ter­day.

PIC BY AMRULLAH ABD KARIM

Fam­ily mem­bers of the vic­tims at the scene of the in­ci­dent in Bukit Beruntung yes­ter­day.

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