Teen's body found in mining pool, 6 divers drown looking for him

Six rescue divers from the water rescue unit of the fire and rescue department drowned in a freak accident in Selangor after encountering strong undercurrents while searching for a teenager who had fallen into a pool at an abandoned tin mine on Wedne
Six rescue divers from the water rescue unit of the fire and rescue department drowned in a freak accident in Selangor after encountering strong undercurrents while searching for a teenager who had fallen into a pool at an abandoned tin mine on Wednesday.PHOTO: BERNAMA

PETALING JAYA • The body of a Malaysian teenager who fell into a pool at an abandoned tin mine in Puchong was found yesterday, emergency officials said.

Six Malaysian rescue divers drowned in a freak accident the night before while searching for the teenager.

Mohd Ilham Fahmy Mohd Azzam, 17, had gone missing on Wednesday while fishing in the pool, which is popular with anglers in Puchong, a town located west of the capital Kuala Lumpur.

"The victim was found at around 5.45pm, 800m away from where he was seen falling," said Selangor Fire and Rescue Department deputy operations director Mohd Rizal Buang. He added that the body has been taken to Serdang Hospital.

Mr Mohammad Hamdan Wahid, fire and rescue department director-general, said the divers who died during the search 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. The six were pulled out of the water after 30 minutes but by then they were already unconscious, he added.

The fire chief 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 held yesterday for the six divers, and the ceremony was attended by some 500 family members and personnel from the department.

Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, who has expressed his condolences to the families of the rescue divers 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 Sixth Asean Ministerial Meeting on Disaster Management yesterday. Tun 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 that were 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, (as well as) close off the area," he told reporters yesterday.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BERNAMA

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 05, 2018, with the headline 'Teen's body found in mining pool, 6 divers drown looking for him'. Print Edition | Subscribe