HULU TERENGGANU - The search-and-rescue mission for marathon runner Ahmad Rafikin Azman at the Sekayu waterfalls came to a tragic end with the discovery of the 16-year-old's body.
Rescuers found the body of the Form Four student wedged between some rocks at about 3.30pm Tuesday, four days after he went missing while competing in the Mount Gajah Terom Challenge 2014.
Ahmad Rafikin's death was confirmed when rescue workers arrived at the park's base at 6.40pm with the deceased's body.
Family members of the victim, who were waiting at the base, immediately broke down when they caught sight of the body being carried on a stretcher.
"The victim's body was immediately brought to the Hulu Terengganu hospital for further inspection," said Hulu Terengganu deputy police chief Asst Supt Mohd Rosli Mohd Amir.
He added that the body was found not far from one of the race checkpoints.
Johari Abu Bakar, who led a group of volunteers on the search, was the person who stumbled upon the body.
"As I was walking near the river, when I detected a strong stench. I walked towards the source of the smell and discovered the victim's body," said a distraught Johari.
He said the body was found about 150m from where a shoe, suspected to be the victim's, was discovered on Monday.
"It is possible that he could have fallen from a higher area," Johari added.
About 107 personnel from nine agencies were involved in the search on Tuesday.
Ahmad Rafikin, from SM Sains Sultan Mahmud in Kuala Terengganu, was a keen participant of outdoor events.
He was racing in the 12km junior category of the race, an annual event organised by the Kembara Negara Association.
During the race, Ahmad Rafikin arrived at the first checkpoint at 9.26am on Saturday but was not seen after.
Located about 56km from Kuala Terengganu, the Sekayu Recreation Park is a popular picnic spot in Terengganu with families due to its scenic waterfalls.
The area is also frequented by trekkers.