Mat Tapa ‘found his way and returned home’, says grieving but consoled sister

Victim's sister Freshila Tapa

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By Nancy Nais

BAU, March 26: The sister of Mat Tapa believed that her deceased brother has ‘found his way and returned home’ this morning.

Freshilla Tapa, 26, said when she woke up at 7am, she felt a soft breeze like cold wind and the sense of her brother’s presence at home.

“It’s hard to explain but it felt like his soul has come back. It has been in our belief that our dearly departed will come back and when I felt his presence, I knew already that his soul has found the way home,” she told DayakDaily when met outside the cave of Gunung Tabai at Jalan Bidi-Krokong here today.

Mat, 25, was trapped and crushed to death by rocks in a tunnel inside the cave while digging for gold with two other friends on March 23.

The trio were believed to have gone to look for gold as early as 5.30am but failed to return home.

While inside the tunnel, a cave-in occurred due to soil movement, trapping the men.

Freshilla also told of the family’s desperate wait for her brother’s body to be taken out of the cave.

A devastated father, Tapa Monya praying for his son and that rescuers can take the latter’s body out of the tunnel in a cave at Gunung Tabai.

“Everyone at home, especially my father Tapa Monya and mother Joip Lowek are all shattered and waiting for his remains. It is our hope that rescuers can take his body out. If they can’t, we don’t know what else to say. We know the operations are very risky, involving the lives of so many rescuers and three days have past.

“We wish to give him a proper burial. If he is left inside the cave, we won’t be able to visit him often and that is a fact which my parents find hard to take,” Freshilla added.

It was understood that Mat is engaged and planning to get married in June this year.

Meanwhile, two other men were successful rescued alive and brought out of the cave at 4.40pm on March 24.

Freshilla and her father, Tapa Monya (in checkered shirt) outside the cave at Gunung Tabai.

Although rescuers managed to enter the narrow tunnel and found Mat’s body, they could not remove his body out of the rubble because the location was too dangerous for them to move. — DayakDaily