CHUKAI: The body of a male individual found at 9.20 am today by search and rescue operation personnel has been identified as Muhammad Fikri Saliman, 24, from Batu Pahat, Johor, who was one of the victims swept away by a water surge at the Air Putih waterfall on Saturday.
Kemaman district police chief Supt Hanyan Ramlan said the identity of the ninth body recovered was confirmed by fingerprints at the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital in Kuala Terengganu.
“The condition of the body after seven days made it impossible for a physical confirmation by the next of kin,” he said when met at the operations control centre at the Air Putih police station here today, adding that Muhammad Fikri’s body would be handed over to his next of kin at 10 pm for funeral arrangements.
Meanwhile, today’s search and rescue operation has been called off due to unfavourable weather, according to Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department Zone 2 chief Snr Supt Azman Alias.
“A Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) report this evening indicated that heavy rain has been forecasted in the upstream part of the search area,” he said, adding that operations would resume tomorrow at 7.30 am and be focused on points of interest in three sectors.
He did not reject the possibility that the last missing victim of the incident, Putri Nor Fatin Karim, 14, had been buried by sand based on the discovery of previous bodies.
“We will assign several groups to conduct excavations at several locations where new sandbars have been created at the SAR area and will use tracker dogs from the K9 units to help with the search,” he said.
Muhammad Fikri, along with a family of nine from Felda Lepar Hilir, Kuantan, Pahang were swept away by a water surge while they were picnicking at the waterfall last Saturday.
Eight bodies were recovered before Muhammad Fikri’s remains were discovered and confirmed today.
Seven of them, Karim Abdullah, 39, his wife, Azizah Eiyi, 40, and five of their children, Muhammad Zulqarnain Haikal Karim, 11; Putri Nurerina Natasya,10; Muhammad Haziq Ziqree Karim, six; Putri Aryana Umaira Karim, four, and Putri Balqis Izzati Abdul Rahman, 18, were laid to rest in a common grave at the Lepar Hilir 3 Muslim Cemetery in Kuantan on Tuesday, while the eighth victim, Putri Alleya Maisarah Karim, 16, was buried next to them on Wednesday. – Bernama