Missing boy found drowned in disused mining pool in Malaysia

The six personnel - part of the rescue diving unit - were searching for a teenager who fell into a mining pool when they were dragged away by strong currents.
The six personnel - part of the rescue diving unit - were searching for a teenager who fell into a mining pool when they were dragged away by strong currents.PHOTO: BOMBA

PETALING JAYA/KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BERNAMA) - The body of 17-year-old Mohd Ilham Fahmy Mohd Azzam who fell into a disused mining pool has been found, the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department confirmed on Thursday (Oct 4).

“The victim was found at around 5.45pm, 800m away from where he was seen falling,” said deputy operation director Mohd Rizal Buang. He added that the body has been sent to Serdang Hospital.

Earlier, six Malaysian rescue divers had drowned in a freak accident on Wednesday night while searching for the boy who had gone missing in the pool at an abandoned tin mine, emergency officials said.

The boy had gone missing Wednesday while fishing in the pool popular with anglers in the township of Puchong, west of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, fire and rescue department director-general, said the divers encountered strong undercurrents that spun them around in the murky water.

Local police chief Abdul Aziz Ali said the spinning caused them to lose their diving gear. They were pulled out of the water after 30 minutes but by then they were already unconscious, he added.

Fire chief Mohammad described the death of six officers in one day as the “worst tragedy” to hit his department.

A simple yet solemn solat jenazah (prayer for the departed) was on Thursday for the six divers, and the ceremony was attended by some 500 family members and personnel from the department.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed, who has expressed his condolences to the families of the firemen who drowned, said he was saddened to hear the news.

“I hope the families remain strong in this challenging period,” he said to reporters after opening the Asean 6th Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management on Thursday.

Dr Mahathir said that the government would look at forms of assistance to be extended to the families of the victims.

Meanwhile, the Selangor government has ordered the Sepang Municipal Council to close down the mining pool. Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said the closure was necessary following several drowning cases reported in the area.

“I received a report that this (drowning at the mining pool) was not the first, and I have instructed the Sepang Municipal Council to increase security surveillance, including closing off the area” he told reporters on Thursday.