4 children drown in river, 3 missing
8 boys fall into monsoon drain; 4 drown, 3 others still missing
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.
Policemen and firemen placing the body of one of the drowned victims into a van in Bukit Beruntung yesterday.
Family members of the victims at the scene of the incident in Bukit Beruntung yesterday.