Beau­ti­ful but deadly

Teen watches in hor­ror as strong cur­rent sweeps two sis­ters and cousin away

The Star Malaysia - - Front Page - Watch the video thes­tartv.com

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.

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