Stuck in floods with water up to their necks

What was supposed to be a leisurely holiday at a hilltop chalet ended in a nightmare for 21 Singaporeans after rising flood waters left them stranded in their vehicles.

The 3m high flood waters cut off their exit route and left them trapped in their vehicles in Endau Rompin National Park in Johor Baru.

Furthermore, they were unable to call for medical help for a 1 ½-year-old child who was ill as they couldn't get a strong enough cellphone signal.

They were only rescued after 48 hours by a helicopter on Tuesday.

Some of the travellers whom The Straits Times spoke to said it was supposed to be a family trip to Malaysia with colleagues, families and friends.

The worst thing that they could think of which could happen was a flat tyre, one of them said.

The 21 Singaporeans had set off on Saturday morning in four four-wheel-drive vehicles and eight dirt bikes. They were led by three Malaysian tour guides.

They reached the chalet and stayed the night.

Disaster struck the next morning when they embarked on their return trip.

One of the bridges they were planning to use to cross Lembakoh River was completely submerged.

By the time the group turned around to head back to the chalet, the waters had rose and the first bridge which they had crossed earlier was completely submerged.

They then contacted park officers via radio to tow the cars and they reached the chalet five hours later.

Once there, the travellers contacted Mersing police and the Singapore consulate in Johor Baru using a satellite phone.

They were told on Monday morning that a helicopter would arrive later in the day to airlift the toddler who had a fever.

However, the helicopter only managed to airlift a snake-bite victim at the chalet who was not part of their group.

The toddler and her mother were left behind.

The group was also offered two choices: pay RM1,600 (S$650) for two motorboats to ferry them to Mersing or wait two weeks for flood waters to subside.

Singaporeans stranded in Malaysia national park rescued
Click on thumbnail to view (Photos: Reuters, Straits Times, Andrew Fatipah)

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