LAST_UPDATETue, 19 Jun 2018 4pm

Sungai Gasi's Sudden Surge Claims Five Lives

KUALA LUMPUR -- The joy of eight anglers of catching big fish turned into a tragedy when five of them drowned after sudden surge of strong current at Sungai Gasi near the Sungai Buloh Camp swept them away at about 5 pm yesterday.

The deceased are Hashir, 38, an Indonesian national, Jamaluddin Rapawi, 14, Silawati Zailan, 31, Jeleha Hashim, 48, and Rapawi Jum’ada, 37.

The three who managed to swim to safety are Rizal Mad Desa, 31; Syamsul Azhar Ismail, 33; and Taib Asik, 31.

The search and rescue (SAR) operation control post was closed at 6.30 pm today after operating for almost 24 hours, following the discovery of all bodies.

Sungai Buloh district police chief Supt S. Somu said the SAR operation was called off after the last body, that of Rapawi, was found floating in the river near Desa Coalfields, about 24-kilometre away from the scene.

He said all the bodies had also been identified by their family members.

Somu also thanked the SAR team for their cooperation which had enabled the victims to be found within 24 hours.

The body of Hashir was first to be discovered at 9.51 pm yesterday, some 8.2 km from the scene, followed by the remains of Jamaluddin at 1.26 am today, about 9.8km from the scene of the incident.

The SAR team then found the third body of Silawati near Paya Jaras Hilir at 12.30 pm before they discovered the body of Jeleha in Desa Coalfields at 3.45 pm, followed by that of Rapawi at 4.35 pm.

The operation, led by Yusri Basri, involved 39 personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department, Royal Malaysia Police (20), Civil Defence Force (8), Shah Alam City Council (8), People’s Volunteer Corps (3), Malaysian Armed Forces Fire Brigade (9), and Disaster Management Unit (6).

Meanwhile, Selangor director Azmi Osman said the water level at the river could reach seven-metre high.

“On normal days, the water level is only a foot-deep….This is the scary part (as it is dangerous). As such, people are urged not to carry out recreational activities in the water at this time due to the uncertain weather,” he said.

Azmi said based on statistics, 12 people were reported to have drowned in Selangor since January this year.

“A total of 10 victims drowned while conducting activities in a river while two others at irrigation canal,” he said.