By Brad Rantayy
MIRI, March 30: A fun day out among a group of friends during the school holidays turned tragic when one of them drowned in a raw water storage basin at KM15 Lambir, Miri-Bintulu Road at noon yesterday.
According to Miri Fire and Rescue chief Law Poh Kiong, the victim identified as Hairil Iskandar, 11, was found at 2.54pm by its Water Rescue Unit (PPDA).
A team from Miri and Lopeng fire stations were immediately mobilised to the scene for a search and rescue upon receiving a report at 12.16pm.
Hairil, a Year 5 pupil of SK Lambir, was found some 10 to 15 feet from the spot he was reported to have slipped and fell in.
“The deceased and three other friends were reported to have gone for a jog in the area. The victim, attempting to wash his feet, had lost his balance and fell into the water.
“His three friends had tried pulling him out using ropes but to no avail. The raw water storage basin has a depth of 23 feet,” Law said.
Authorities believed the victim was unable to climb out due to the slippery surface of the water basin. Trained Fire and Rescue personnel demonstrated how slippery it was, as they also struggled to lift the victim’s body from the water and relied on ropes to support their ascent.
His body has been handed to the police for further action.
Meanwhile, in a press conference held late evening Friday, LAKU Management Sdn Bhd chief executive officer Franklin Ucar confirmed that the incident took place at its raw water storage basin.
He clarified that the incident did not occur at its treated water plant, which is located some 2km from the raw water storage basin.
“The area is gated and outsiders were prohibited from entering the area,” he said.
According to Franklin, preliminary investigation revealed that the children had gained access into the 8.2 acres area via a cut opening in the fence.
“LAKU management is deeply saddened by the incident and would like to extend our condolences to the family,” he said. — DayakDaily