KUCHING (BERNAMA) – The year 2021 began in Sarawak on a tragic note after nine people, including two children, drowned after the four-wheel-drive they were in plunged into Sungai Batang Lupar from the Triso ferry jetty in Sri Aman, about 120 kilometres from Kuching this afternoon.
According to information obtained from the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department operations centre (PGO), all nine victims, comprising five males and four females, were pulled out of the river by members of the public.
A PGO spokesman said by the time a search and rescue team from the Saratok fire station, located some 98km away, arrived at the scene, the victims had already been brought up to the jetty.
The spokesman said the victims included the driver, a woman identified as Ronany Ting, 33, and a female passenger, Siti Aisha Abdullah, 36.
Also killed in the heartbreaking incident were three teenagers, Nor Shuhada Mohamad, 16, Khairunnisa Muhamad, 14 and Alvin Phang, 12, as well as three children, Wallace Phang and Mohd Aiman Mohd Hamdan, both seven, Muhd Mustaqim Mohd Hamdan, aged five and a four-month-old infant, Mohd Ahmad Mohd Hamdan.
“Their deaths were confirmed by a medical officer at the Beladin Health Clinic,” the spokesman said.
Based on preliminary information obtained by the Fire and Rescue Department search and rescue team, all the victims were related to each other and were on their way from Sibu, about 200km from the scene, to Kuching when tragedy struck, the spokesman said.
“The actual cause of the incident is still being investigated by the relevant authorities (police),” he said.