Body of missing 12-year-old schoolboy found off Bedok Jetty after search operation

Police and SCDF personnel retrieve the body of the missing boy from the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
Police and SCDF personnel retrieve the body of the missing boy from the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Police and SCDF personnel retrieve the body of the missing boy from the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
Police and SCDF personnel retrieve the body of the missing boy from the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
SCDF personnel seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
SCDF personnel seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
A rescue craft is seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok Jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
A rescue craft is seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok Jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Rescue craft seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok Jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
Rescue craft seen searching a section of the sea near Bedok Jetty for a missing boy on Monday (May 8) afternoon.PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
SCDF's Dart rescuers search for a missing boy in the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon.
SCDF's Dart rescuers search for a missing boy in the waters off East Coast beach on Monday (May 8) afternoon. ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - The body of a missing 12-year-old schoolboy was found in the waters off Bedok Jetty on Monday (May 8) afternoon after a search operation that lasted for three hours. 

The Straits Times understands that the boy was Muhammad Suhaimi Sabastian, the youngest of three sons. 

Ms Elaine Tan, vice-principal of Jurongville Secondary School, told The Straits Times in a statement on Monday evening that the school is deeply saddened by his death.

"It was reported to us that he had visited East Coast Park with a group of friends for a swim, after taking his examination paper this morning," said Ms Tan. "School leaders, staff and counsellors are currently providing emotional support and assistance to the family in their time of grief. We are also supporting and counselling affected students and staff. As the police are investigating this case, we are unable to comment further."

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) first announced in a Facebook post that it was alerted to a report of a missing person at around 12.25pm. 

In a subsequent update at 3.33pm, it said that the body of the missing person had been found by SCDF's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (Dart) rescuers.

"Our condolences to the family," SCDF added in the update. 

The search was conducted along a stretch of beach at East Coast Park's area E near Bedok Jetty, which was cordoned off when The Straits Times arrived at around 2.45pm. 

At least three coastal police boats were seen searching the waters. An ambulance, two fire engines, a Red Rhino and several police cars were also spotted. 

Several students wearing Jurongville uniforms were seated at a nearby pavilion. 

Ms Silvia Hajas, 47, was admiring the view near a breakwater with her eight-year-old daughter when she heard the group of boys calling for help.

She rushed to their aid and saw four boys in distress in the water about 50m away from the shore. While she managed to save three of the boys, by the time she got to the third boy, the victim had disappeared under the water.

“I kept looking out on the horizon for him, but he never came back up,” she said.  

A 54-year-old man, who declined to be named, told ST he was fishing at Bedok Jetty when a passerby told him just before noon that a boy had drowned. 

Police are investigating the unnatural death.