Boy, 9, sees his family drown at waterfall

HULU TERENGGANU - A holiday outing at the Belukar Bukit waterfall has left a nine-year-old boy traumatised after watching five of his family members being sucked into the strong water currents.

They had all drowned as Hasif Abdul Halim stood helplessly screaming for help.

A family member, who did not want to be named said the boy's screams were heard by villagers but they arrived too late.

The five drowned have been identified as engineer and imam Abdul Halim Samian, 44, Nurul Adila @ Salwati Awang, 39; Nurul Arifah Abdul Halim, 16; Nurul Aina Abdul Halim,11 and Nurul Izah Abdul Halim, 10.

They were from Bandar Puncak Alam in Kuala Selangor.

Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Zuraidi Mohd Yusuf said the department received a call from the public at about 11.35am.

"By the time we reached at the scene at about 12.20pm, three bodies, a man and two children, had already been found by the villagers.

"At about 12.33pm, the body of a woman was found followed by her daughter at about 12.37pm," he told reporters at the Hulu Terengganu Hospital mortuary.

Zuraidi added the area the family was swimming was a secluded area and believed that the strong currents had pulled one by one of the family members to the bed of the waterfall.

"From our initial investigation, we also believe that the family members were first playing at a shallow area before moving into a deeper area. As the current started to pull one, the others attempted to save the one drowning. That was when everyone were pulled into the deepest area," he said.

Meanwhile Abdul Halim's brother-in-law, Rashid Awang, 40, said he was supposed to follow the family for picnic.

He said he received a call from Abdul Halim on Friday, asking him to follow the family to Sekayu waterfall.

"Since the Sekayu waterfall was closed to public during the monsoon season, it was decided to go to the Belukar Bukit waterfall," Rashid said when met at the mortuary.

He said they had decided to go separately as he was supposed to bring food for the picnic.

"All of a sudden, at about 11am, I received a call regarding the tragedy," he said.

The victims were buried last night at the Islamic burial ground in Kampung Pengkalan Arang, Kuala Nerus, near here.