Tragic turn to siblings' waterfall picnic in Langkawi; 5-year-old girl drowned

(From left): Muhammad Hafizi, Anis Satirah, Siti Aisyah and Qistina.
What remains: Footwear of the children left near the scene of the tragedy at Lubuk Semilang in Kuah.
The search: Firemen looking for the victims at Lubuk Semilang in Kuah, Langkawi. PHOTO: THE STAR / ASIA NEWS NETWORK

LANGKAWI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A happy outing by a stream near a waterfall turned into a nightmare for a teenager who could only watch in horror as his two sisters and a cousin were swept away by strong currents.

Muhammad Hafizi Kassim, 15, from Kampung Bukit Malut, in Langkawi, said that they were having fun swimming in the stream at the Lubuk Semilang Recreation Park in Kuah, when they suddenly had trouble in the water.

The boy could only watch helplessly as his sisters, Siti Aisyah Kassim, five, and Nor Syuhada, 20, and cousin, identified only as Nor Hayati, also 20, were swept away by the currents.

Siti Aisyah's body was later found, together with three others.

Nor Syuhada and Nor Hayati were rescued.

"We come here all the time. We arrived at 3pm on Thursday and we were having fun in the water. About two hours later, the strong currents came suddenly and swept us all away," said Muhammad Hafizi, a Form Three student of SMK Kelibang.

Muhammad Hafizi said he was thrown about by the currents, but managed to hold onto a rock and climbed up the rock.

"I pulled myself onto the rock. I looked for the others, but they were missing," Muhammad Hafizi said.

"I didn't know where they were and screamed loudly for help," he said.

Those nearby immediately came to help as he managed to get to the river bank.

"I shouted for my relatives but they were gone... all gone!" said Muhammad Hafizi, who was grief-stricken after losing his youngest sister.

"My heart breaks when I think about how we lost my sister... I will always blame myself for taking her to this spot," he added.

"Nor Syuhada and Nor Hayati can swim, but they were swept away by the strong currents. Fortunately, they survived," he said.

He said he prayed the whole night for the safe return of Siti Aisyah.

"But now, she is gone forever," said the teary-eyed teenager.

He was at the mortuary of Langkawi Hospital to claim Siti Aisyah's body.

Their father, Kassim Abdullah, 45, a fireman, and mother Mariam Abdul Rashid, 47, were at home when the incident happened.

Kassim was inconsolable and kept calling for Siti Aisyah when her pants were found at the scene at 11.15am on Friday (Oct 13).

"This belongs to my little girl. She loved this pair of pants," the distraught father said.

Kassim said that on Thursday, Siti Aisyah was unusually affectionate and kept kissing his cheeks before putting her head on his lap.

"I had a strange feeling that she would go away. It is God's will that she has left us."

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.