Search for children feared drowned in Bukit Beruntung resumes today

By Praven Suppayah, Danial Dzulkifly and Jerry Choong
Search and rescue personnel recover the bodies of two children who drowned while fishing in the river near the near the Sekolah Kebangsaan Cina (SKC), Bukit Beruntung. ― Bernama pic

KUALA KUBU BARU, March 19 — Search parties will resume scouring the Sungai SKC Bukit Beruntung at first light today for the two remaining missing school children feared drowned.

On Friday, eight children were fishing at the river when strong currents washed them away. One managed to cling onto a PVC pipe which dangled by the river embankment wall.

Five bodies were recovered on Friday night and early Saturday while two remain missing.

Yesterday funerals were held in Kedah, Kuala Selangor and here for the five.

After Friday prayers, eight students of the Bunga Raya 1 primary and secondary schools went to the river, which is located near a vernacular school, to catch fish.

The midday thunderstorm, which blanketed most of the Klang Valley, had just eased and the eight waded into what was described to be just below knee-deep water.

The river was calm and little did the boys realise that further upstream a strong gush of water was building and making its way down.

Within minutes, the river swelled beyond expectation and authorities described it to be at least five metres deep.

The currents washed them downstream and 12-year-old Muhammad Shahir Azman was able to grab onto a PVC pipe dangling from the embankment wall and was rescued by an orchard worker.

Those who drowned were brothers Shahrizwan Abdullah, 10, and Shahrizat, 12; Mohd Iskandar Shah Abdullah, 11, Mohd Aiman Fitri Md Asmadi, 12, and Amirul Hakimi Khairul Amru, nine.

Three were buried at about noon at the Bukit Beruntung muslim cemetery, while the remaining two bodies were sent to Kuala Selangor and Kuala Kerai, Kedah.

The two listed as missing are Muhammad Aiman Kamarul, 12, and Mohd Ikhwan Mohd Ridhwan, 10.

The family of Muhammad Shahir have taken him to Ipoh to help him recover from the trauma he went through.

Hulu Selangor police chief Superintendent R. Supramanisam said interviews with the sole survivor Muhd Shahir enabled police to piece together events which led to the tragedy.

“They had just waded into the river to fish. The water level was hardly at knee level but within minutes, it rose and they were swept away 200 metres downstream,” he said.

Parents, he added, should take care of their children and know their whereabouts.

“It was the first such incident at this river stretch.

“Such incidents should not have taken place, should not happen in future... and we all play a big role in making sure does not.”