CAMERON HIGHLANDS - Ragom Wasrip held his wife's hand so tightly when mud and water gushed into their home in Bertam Valley here but he could not hang on to her.
The current pulled his wife Kesmat Iduan, 46, away from him and he lost sight of her from then on.
"When we heard the sirens at about 1am, we frantically tried to find our way out. But we couldn't move as water was gushing in too fast.
"When the water current pushed me right to the roof, I managed to get out but my wife got trapped inside the house," he told reporters at the Sultanah Hajjah Kalsom hospital's mortuary to claim his wife's body on Wednesday.
Kesmat's body was found trapped in the house at 8.15am on Wednesday.
He lamented that they had both planned to return to Surabaya in December.
"But this is not to be," a grief-stricken Ragom said.
The 54-year-old who works in a farm has been living here for 25 years.
He said her body would be flown back to Surabaya to be buried there.
Ragom said his wife had come to Malaysia 10 years ago, and both were planning to return home to visit family and friends. Their kongsi house was located near the Bertam riverbank.
Student Shaifa Jamil and his mother were trapped in their house as water reached their waist.
They tried to open the main door but they could not.
However, his father and brother who were outside the house broke one of the windows and saved both his and his mother's lives.
The 19-year-old Form Six student of SM Sultan Ahmad Shah in Tanah Rata said when they got out of the house the water level was already reaching their chest.
"We waded through the water to safety, and did not take any of our belongings.
"Almost every year, we face a similar flood situation, but this is the worst," he said at the community centre.
Shaifa said the water was gushing so fast that it brought along timber wood, mud and rubbish.
Another victim Mohd Esswandy Zubir, 21 who had just completed his diploma in business a few days ago from a polytechnic in Rompin, said water gushed into his home in minutes.
"But Thank God my family and I managed to reach to safety," he added.
The rescue operation was stopped at 6pm due to heavy rain, and will continue at 8am today.