Beautiful but deadly
Teen watches in horror as strong current sweeps two sisters and cousin away
On the surface, it looks like a serene, calm stream with a picturesque waterfall. But in a flash, it became a death trap. One minute, a group of youngsters were swimming at the Lubuk Semilang Recreational Park in Langkawi and the next, they were swept away by a sudden surge of water. Three victims were lucky to survive but the bodies of four others have been found.
LANGKAWI: A happy outing at a stream near a waterfall turned into a nightmare for a teenager who could only watch in horror as his two sisters and a cousin were swept away by strong currents.
Muhammad Hafizi Kassim, 15, from Kampung Bukit Malut, Langkawi said that they were having fun swimming in the stream at the Lubuk Semilang Recreation Park in Kuah here. The next minute, they were in trouble in the water.
The boy could only watch helplessly as his sisters, Siti Aisyah Kassim, five, and Nor Syuhada, 20, and cousin, only identified as Nor Hayati, also 20, were swept away.
Siti Aisyah’s body was later found, together with three others. Nor Syuhada and Nor Hayati were rescued.
“We come here all the time. We arrived at 3pm on Thursday and we were having fun in the water. About two hours later, the strong current came suddenly and swept us all away,” said Muhammad Hafizi, a Form Three student of SMK Kelibang.
Muhammad Hafizi said he was thrown about but managed to hold on to a rock and climbed on it.
“I pulled myself onto the rock. I looked for the others but they were missing,” a distraught Muhammad Hafizi said.
“I didn’t know where they were and screamed loudly for help,” he said.
Those within earshot immediately came to help as he managed to get to the river bank.
“I shouted for my relatives but they were gone ... all gone!” said Muhammad Hafizi, who was grief-stricken after losing his youngest sister.
“My heart breaks when I think about how we lost my sister ... I will always blame myself for taking her to this spot,” he added.
“Nor Syuhada and Nor Hayati can swim but they were swept away by the strong current. Fortunately, they survived,” he said.
He said he prayed the whole night for the safe return of Siti Aisyah “but now, she is gone forever,” said the teary-eyed teenager.
He was at the mortuary of Langkawi Hospital to claim Siti Aisyah’s body.
His fireman father Kassim Abdullah, 45, and mother Mariam Abdul Rashid, 47, were at home when the incident happened.
Kassim was inconsolable and kept calling for Siti Aisyah when her pants were found at the scene at 11.15am yesterday.
“This belongs to my little girl. She loved this pair of pants,” the distraught father said.
Kassim said that on Thursday, Siti Aisyah was unusually affectionate and kept kissing his cheeks before putting her head on his lap.
“I had a strange feeling that she would go away. It is God’s will that she has left us.”
Moments before disaster: Three of the siblings playing at the Lubuk Semilang waterfall just before they were swept away by the sudden strong currents. — Bernama
What remains: Footwear of the children left near the scene of the tragedy at Lubuk Semilang in Kuah.
The search: Firemen looking for the victims at Lubuk Semilang in Kuah, Langkawi.
(From left): Muhammad Hafizi, Anis Satirah, Siti Aisyah and Qistina.