Water Surge Tragedy: Six Bodies Found, Four Still Missing – Police

CHUKAI: The number of bodies found on the second day of the search and rescue operation (SAR) for victims of the water surge in Jeram Air Putih, here today is four and not seven as informed earlier.

Terengganu police chief Datuk Mazli Mazlan said the confusion was due to a communication snag between the search location with the operation control centre at Air Putih police station here. 

“The search team at the location is facing communication problem because communication devices are not functioning properly due to the thick forest and undulating terrain,” he told a media conference here this evening. 

He said the operation was halted at 5 pm as there are indications of heavy rain in upper reach of the forest.  

Mazli said the SAR operation will resume tomorrow to find the remaining four victims who are still missing.

Meanwhile, Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar in the media conference said the Operations Control Centre here is receiving information from time to time from the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) on the weather condition at the search location. 

“We do not want to conduct the search in bad weather as another water surge could occur. So as advised by Terengganu police chief just now, we are temporarily stopping the SAR operation and would resume when the situation permits.

“We are at a critical moment to complete the search for the victims of this tragedy because we know that after 48 hours the bodies will decompose and make it difficult to physically search for the bodies. Thank you to all the members involved so far we have found six bodies,” he said.

Ahmad Samsuri who had previously visited the relatives of the victims at the Operation Control Centre also said that the Terengganu Islamic Religion and Malay Customs Council (MAIDAM) will bear all costs related to sending the remains to Felda Lepar Hilir, Kuantan, Pahang.

“And if there are additional needs, the state government will help in terms of logistics, transport or anything that arises,” he said.

Asked whether the state government will set up a special committee to investigate the tragedy involving the 10 victims, Ahmad Samsuri said the matter will be discussed in a meeting of the state government this Wednesday.

“We will look comprehensively and not only in Kemaman as there are danger warning notices put up at other areas of rapids and advice to watch out for the weather… so we will look again into the effectiveness of the notices and see if another form of supervision is necessary,” he said.

Today, a total of four bodies have been successfully found, namely Karim Abdullah, 39, Putri Aryana Umaira Karim, 4, Muhammad Haziq Ziqree Karim, 6, and Putri Nurerina Natasya Karim, 10.

All the bodies were taken to the Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital (HSNZ) in Kuala Terengganu for post-mortem, including the bodies of Azizah Eiyi, 40, and Muhammad Zulqarnain Haikal Karim, 11, who were found by the public yesterday.

With the discovery and confirmation of the identity of the six bodies, SAR operation will focus on the bodies of four more victims namely Putri Balqis Izzati Abdul Rahman, 18, Putri Alleya Maisarah Karim, 16, Putri Nor Fatin Karim, 14, and Muhammad Fikri Saliman, 24.

Yesterday, the media reported 10 victims with nine of them from the same family perished in the incident. – Bernama

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