KUALA KRAI - An outdoor study trip for 23 students from the National University of Singapore turned into a tragedy when one of them drowned in a lake, hours after setting up their tents at Gunung Stong in Dabong, Kelantan, on Saturday.
Panic struck the campers when Lee Jun Jie, 23, disappeared from the camping site at 7pm after arriving by train here about three hours earlier from Singapore.
Jeli Fire and Rescue Services station chief officer Soleh Nasir said a local tour guide made an emergency call to the station to report the incident at 7.17pm.
He said a search and rescue operation, involving nine fire-men from Jeli station, was immediately mounted. However, their efforts were hampered by the darkness when they arrived at the scene.
He said firemen from the scuba unit continued search operations in the morning before discovering the body in the lake at 9.50am yesterday.
"Rescuers immediately took his body to the district hospital for a post-mortem."
Lee, from Thoh Yi Drive in Singapore, was believed to be taking in the sights and doing some work outside the campsite before slipping into the lake at the base of the mountain, as the ground in the area was slippery.
A district police spokesman said the Singaporean students were believed to have arrived at Dabong railway station about 4pm on Saturday.
Efforts by newsmen to get more details of the incident from his friends and family members, who gathered at the hospital mortuary, proved futile, as they refused to speak.
When contacted, district police chief Superintendent Abdul Rahim Che Ghani confirmed that the student's death was caused by drowning, but declined to elaborate further.