BEAUFORT: The father of one of three students who drowned at the Membakut resort here this morning said he was hesitant to allow his 16-year-old son, Daniel Norman, to be part of his school’s camping excursion.
Norisham Purah, a 51-year-old imam at Petagas mosque, said he had reservations over Daniel’s trip, even though his son was a good swimmer and had been part of many camping activities before.
"He was an active member of the police cadet.
“But I had a bad feeling about this trip. And also, because I wanted to bring him to visit my eldest son at Tenom, today," he said when met by reporters at the Beaufort hospital.
Daniel, who was the seventh of eight siblings, insisted on going for the excursion, and turned to his sister for the RM30 camping fee.
"So I sent him to school yesterday (Friday), and he said the group would return on Sunday.
"The next thing I know, I receive a call from the school at around 11.30am this morning, informing me that my son had drowned," he said.
In the incident, Daniel and two other SMK Putatan students – Hafiz Hamizan Rahman, 16 and Khuzaimi Zakaran, 17 – slipped and fell into the deep end of a lake while trekking through one of the watery jungle tracks at the Resort Lake Eco.
According to a police report, a total of seven students fell into water, but four were rescued.
The survivors were sent for treatment at the district hospital and are reported to be stable.
Sabah education director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said the camping programme was approved by the Penampang district education office and that the work plan did not involve activities in the water.
"There are so many versions about what happened. So I need to get the full report from the district education office first (before commenting further)," she said.