Bukit Beruntung tragedy: Search for missing extended, five victims buried

KALBANA PERIMBANAYAGAM AND DAWN CHAN


HULU SELANGOR: The search and rescue (SAR) mission for two victims still missing from the Bukit Beruntung fishing tragedy yesterday has been extended to Sungai Selangor.

"We have extended the SAR area further up to Sungai Selangor, because we are afraid that (the victims) may have been washed (farther) away in the strong currents,” said District police chief Supt R. Supramaniam, adding that the search at Sungai SKC was halted at 4am and resumed at 8am this morning.

"The rain was quite heavy (yesterday) and the water here had risen up to five metres, so there may be a possibility that they were swept farther away from the scene," he said, referring to Muhammad Aiman Kamarul Ariffin, 12, and Mohd Ikhwan Mohd Ridhuan, 10, who are feared dead after falling into a pond while fishing at Bukit Beruntung with six other young friends yesterday.

Five other bodies were recovered yesterday.

"All five bodies were sent to the Kuala Kubu Bharu hospital for post-mortem.

"Based on the hospital report, the victims’ cause of death was drowning. There was no foul play involved," he said at a press conference at the scene this afternoon.

Supramaniam said the remains of three boys were buried at the Bukit Beruntung Muslim Cemetery today, while two others were taken to Kuala Krai and Kuala Selangor for burial ceremonies there.

"The SAR (comprises) about 80 men from Rela, the Civil Defence Force, the Fire and Rescue Department, the K9 unit and volunteers from nearby villages.

"We also have two boats using K9 facilities combing the river for the two boys," Supramaniam said.

He added that the boats, which were brought in through Sungai Selangor, will continue to search for the boys within a 3km radius of where other bodies were found yesterday.

Meanwhile, the sole survivor of the incident, Muhammad Shahir Azman, 12, said he was lucky, because he managed to hold on to a pipe in the strong current.

Supramaniam said police have recorded Shahir’s statement and he will soon be sent to Ipoh for treatment.

"He's still traumatised and his mother said she will be taking him there, probably today, for treatment," he added.