Family of 14-year-old who drowned at Changi did not know he was at the beach, says relative

Friends and relatives carrying the body of Putera Muhammad Indra Shazrine Suzaini back to his family in Yishun on Aug 23, 2020. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SINGAPORE - The family of the boy who drowned at the Changi Beach Park on Saturday (Aug 22) did not know he had gone to the beach, a relative told The Straits Times on Sunday morning.

They had thought that 14-year-old Putera Muhammad Indra Shazrine Suzaini had gone to study with a group of friends, and were shocked when they got the call informing them that the Secondary 2 boy had drowned, said the boy's step-granduncle.

"He was a very quiet boy, didn't like to talk. But he was very good to his mother and father," transport company owner Noor Azman Marwi, 56, told ST at the Singapore General Hospital morgue.

"I saw him during gatherings or whenever I visited their home," he said, adding that Putera would sometimes tag along with his stepfather for events organised by a motorbike charity club, of which both men are members.

According to eyewitnesses who posted online about the incident, Putera was part of a group of about six boys who had gone fishing and swimming at Changi Beach Park.

Condolences poured in online for Putera's mother who goes by the Facebook moniker Lynn Boyan Putra.

She declined to speak to media at the morgue on Sunday.

On the day of the incident, she had gone to the scene of her son's death after receiving calls from the police and her son's friends.

She had told Shin Min Daily News that her son was obedient and well-behaved, but also timid; so she was taken aback when she received a call from her son's schoolmate about the incident.

She also told Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao that her son did not know how to swim.

The teenager's body was found in the waters off Changi Beach Park on Saturday by rescuers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) after it was called in for "water rescue assistance" at around 3.30pm.

When SCDF officers first arrived at the scene, they found one person on the shore who was later taken to Changi General Hospital.

Divers from the SCDF's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team were deployed to perform an underwater search for Putera, who was later found about 15m from the shore and pronounced dead on scene by a paramedic.

Police are investigating the unnatural death.

Putera's stepfather, Mr Putra Muhd Arffi, 40, who was with a large group of family and friends at the morgue, said the teenager was the oldest of three boys, the other two being aged 13 and one.

"I don't know much about what happened, I just know he was there with some of his friends from school," said Mr Putra who works in pest control.

"I also know there were some fishermen nearby who also tried to help in the rescue," he said.

On Sunday, over 50 family members and friends gathered at Putera's family home in Yishun as well as the building's void deck.

He was later buried at about 4pm at Choa Chu Kang Cemetery.

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