Search for missing boy, 3, stands down after nine fruitless days

A SAR team combing through a search area.

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SRI AMAN, March 12: A desperate search covering approximately 200 hectares of deep forests and plantations for a missing three-year-old Patrick Igih Mohd Taufik, has been ended by the Search and Rescue (SAR) team after nine days.

Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) Sri Aman chief PgB Nik Mohd Afiq Nik Roslan disclosed the SAR operation at Rapak Baru, Pantu was placed on stand down today as there were no new leads.

He confirmed the decision was made following a discussion with the victim’s family members, together with all the relevant agencies involved at 5pm today.

Drone view of the search area involving hills and forests.

On March 4, Patrick was reported missing after his father allegedly left him at a resting hut near an oil palm plantation.

The child had followed his father and grandfather, both whom work as guides for Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC), into the plantation to mark a tree.

As the journey to the said tree was deemed dangerous due to the steep slope, Patrick’s father decided to leave him in the resting hut, with a bottle of milk before continuing their task.

The nine-day SAR operation was carried out by Bomba Sri Aman firefighters, together with the police, Civil Defense Force (APM) and local villagers.

Revealing some of their experience during the SAR, Nik Mohd Afiq said it was a difficult operation as they had to climb hills and slopes as high as 300 metres tilting up to 80 degrees.

“A lot of stamina was needed and everyone had to be extra careful due to security reasons because the hills were very close to the Malaysia-Indonesia border. In addition to that, SAR team also searched around the streams as they headed down.

As many as 200 hectares were searched during the nine-day SAR operation.

“We’ve covered all the locations where he (Patrick) could have visited including the spots where he took a toilet break, as identified by his father. The Bomba K9 unit also joined the search. We found several holes in the jungle. We also searched for any suspicious odors,” he explained.

However, after nine days of searching based on these factors, the SAR team failed to find the child and the search was called off until new clues were identified. — DayakDaily