KOTA KINABALU - A two-year-old boy survived a night alone in a snake-infested rubber plantation in the interior Tenom district.
Healezry Zeandfly Henderi was found sleeping in a narrow path of a thick undergrowth at 10.25am yesterday, about 18 hours after he was reported missing.
Apart from a minor scratch on his cheek, Healezry was generally doing well although he was weak and frightened when he saw firemen approaching him in the hilly terrain rubber plantation about 300m from his house in Kg Kuala Tolokoson.
"He had been sleeping in the bushes. But he woke up at once and was scared when he saw us," Tenom district Fire and Rescue Department officer Hairin Sarbin said.
"One of our men told him that they had come to take him home. The boy immediately stood up and allowed himself to be carried," he said when contacted.
In the police report lodged at 4pm on Thursday, it was stated that Healezry's mother Moina Barahin, 27, had just reached home from the market in Tenom town and had headed to the toilet.
The 23-month-old boy wanted to follow his mother into the toilet
When she came out of the toilet, she searched for him but he was nowhere to be found.
Healezry, who has an elder brother, was last seen coming out of the house alone by a neighbour.
During the search for Healezry in the rubber plantation in Kemabong, firemen heard the cries of child at least three times between 8pm and 9pm on Thursday but they could not locate him immediately.
"We stopped our search at 11pm and continued at first light," Hairin said.
When he was finally home, Moira gave him a drink immediately before feeding him.
The boy was taken to the Kemabong hospital for a medical check up and observation, Hairin said, adding that he had remained mostly quiet and spoke little since the rescue.
However, his rubber tapper father Henderi Andiwang, 35, and Moira thanked the rescuers profusely for bringing their boy home, he said.