DNA tests being done after remains found near where missing Singaporean was last seen in Western Australia

A five-day-long search effort was mounted.
A five-day-long search effort was mounted.PHOTO: WESTERN AUSTRALIA POLICE FORCE

SINGAPORE - Australian authorities have taken DNA samples from family members of a missing Singaporean, after human remains were found near where the student was swept into the ocean in June.

The DNA will help in identifying the remains, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Friday (July 17).

Citing local police, online news outlet WAtoday reported on Friday that the remains were found on the shore near Wyadup Rocks on Thursday at about 11.20am. They were identified tentatively as those of Mr Goh Heng Yi, said WAtoday.

Wyadup Rocks is not far from Injidup Nature Spa - a natural rock formation on Injidup Beach - where Mr Goh was last seen. The 23-year-old student was swept away by a wave on June 29.

"The man was standing on rocks within metres of the ocean when a large wave broke over the rocks, knocking him into the ocean," a police spokesman said on June 30.

A five-day-long search effort was mounted, but was suspended by the West Australian police on July 3, pending any new information being received.

Mr Goh's father told The Straits Times on July 7 that the family was flying to Perth that day.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which informed Mr Goh's father of the incident on the day it occurred, sought permission from Canberra for the family to travel to Western Australia amid border entry restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, while permission was granted on July 1, the family did not leave on the first available flight from Singapore to Perth as they would have to undergo 14 days of quarantine.

"Our family is already very distraught and being locked up for 14 days will cause us a lot of emotional distress," said Mr Goh, a 64-year-old retiree, on July 4.

An appeal for the family to be exempted from the two-week quarantine upon arrival in Australia on compassionate grounds was not approved.

 

The family has been in quarantine since arriving in Perth.

The elder Mr Goh said he last exchanged messages with his son the night before the tragedy, and that the family kept in touch with him frequently through messages and video calls after he began pursuing his master's degree in economics at the University of Western Australia in February.

He added that the tragedy might not have occurred if not for border closures due to the pandemic as his son was on a term break and would have returned to Singapore to spend time with family.

The younger Mr Goh was visiting Injidup Beach, which is about 260km south of Perth, with five friends when he was swept away.

An MFA consular officer is in Perth to help the family and liaise with the local authorities.

"We will continue to assist the family during this difficult period," said a ministry spokesman.