Three children drowned in an attempt to retrieve a trouser in a disused bauxite mine at Taman Sungai Karang Jaya in Sungai Karang near Kuantan, Pahang yesterday.
They were identified as siblings Salsabila Zuhairi, 12, and younger brother Mahathir Mohamad, seven, and a friend, Nureen Ain Juwita Mohd Sharif, 10.
Kuantan district police chief ACP Abdul Aziz Salleh said the children were playing with four others, who included Salsabila’s 10-year-old brother, Mohamad Aiman Hakimi, when the latter fell into the mine, but managed to scramble back to land.
“It was while trying to get back to land that Mohamad Aiman’s trousers slipped off and Salsabila attempted to retrieve it.
“However, the girl slipped into the mine and drowned together with Nureen Ain Juwita and Mahathir who were trying to help her,” he told reporters at the Forensic Unit of Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) last night.
The Regent of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad and Tengku Puan Pahang Tunku Azizah Aminah Iskandariah also visited the families of the victims at the hospital to offer their condolences.
Tengku Abdullah ordered ordered the relevant authorities to fill-up disused mines with earth, especially those located near residential areas, to avoid untoward incidents.
“We hope the relevant authorities can check on these disused mines, to fill them up with earth for safety of residents in the area.
“If possible, place signboard to warn the public against playing in the area,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mohamad Aiman Hakimi Zuhairi, 10, the younger brother of Salsabila said he had told his sister not to retrieve his pants left in the pond.
“But she was adamant, she fell and drowned,” he said.
Narrating the moments before the fateful event at 5 pm yesterday, Mohamad Aiman Hakimi said he and his siblings and four others had gone for the first time to play in the area.
“I then saw a piece of black rubber and tried to reach for it before falling into the pond. I almost drowned at that time, but managed to save myself by swimming out.
“However, my pants came off and my sister tried to reach for it,” he said when met at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital (HTAA) Forensic Unit last night.
However, he said his sister slipped and fell into the pond and drowned while trying retrieve his pants prompting Nureen Ain and his younger brother Mahathir to try and rescue her, but it also resulted in them drowning in the process.
Mohamad Aiman said he himself did not expect to see one by one of his siblings and friend drowning without doing anything about it, as he was frozen with shock.
He and the others then ran to the nearest houses of residents in the area to get help, he said.
Meanwhile, the father of Nureen Ain Juwita, security guard Mohd Sharif Awang Ngah, 50, said he did not expect his only daughter to go to the area to play.
“Before the incident, Nureen Ain Juwita had gone to her grandfather’s house in Taman PSJ about five kilometres from our house in Kampung Sungai Karang.
Mohd Sharif said he found out about the incident befalling his daughter from a village resident there at 6.30 pm.
A witness staying in Taman Sungai Karang Jaya, Zam Abdul Rahman, 37, was among the earliest to reach the scene of the incident after being informed by one of the children involved.
“When I reached the place, the bodies of the siblings had been pulled out by village residents.
“I tried to revive the two victims but failed. I went back home to fetch my safety vest when I found out Nureen Ain Juwita was still in the pond, to try to pull her body out,” he said.
He said the pond was quite deep and he also almost drowned.
The body of Nureen Ain Juwita was found at the bottom of the pond after Zam felt her head with his foot. –Bernama