KUALA TERENGGANU, Feb 10 – “It is fated and there is no point crying over it. But if he is dead, I want his body laid to rest in a cemetery.”
These were the words of Mohd Mustafa, 66, the father of Abdul Bari Asyraf Mohd, 31, who is feared drowned while trying to save five in a family from drowning after their car plunged into Sungai Terengganu on Friday.
Bari, an avid angler, was one of six rescuers who jumped into the river at Pulau Warisan to save the family.
While the others managed to get back safely to land, he went missing in the 9.30pm incident.
Mohd Mustafa said he and his family members hoped that the rescue team comprising 64 men from the Fire and Rescue Department, police, Civil Defence Force and the People’s Volunteer Corps could find Bari’s body.
Strong river currents had prevented the rescuers from diving to search for Bari. As at press time, the rescuers were still trying to locate him.
Mohd Mustafa said he accepted the loss of his son as fate although the incident had impacted his family.
“I only have two sons and six girls. Of course, we will feel this loss. But I am proud of him because his intention was to save lives. He is a hero,” he said when met near the site of the incident yesterday.
He said his son, a welder at Kampung Merbau Patah in Kuala Berang, loved fishing and on the day of the incident, he had just returned home from fishing at Kampung Seberang Takir before going out again to fish at Pulau Warisan with a friend.
Bari’s mother, Masitah Awang, 60, said the police informed her about the incident at 10pm.
“I accepted this as fate. We will miss him because he is loved by our family and his friends.”
One of the rescuers, Omar Abdul Aziz Othman, 27, said he was with his family shopping near the area at 9.30pm on Friday when
he heard someone shouting
“I went to check it out. When I saw a car with occupants sinking in the river, I quickly jumped into the river and swam 20m to the car.
“I managed to save two women, while the other victims were saved by others nearby.
“At about the same time, I saw one of the rescuers floating. I believe he was the first to jump into the river.”
It was believed that Bari was the nearest to the victims trapped in a Mitsubishi Storm when the incident occurred. He was believed to have suffered muscle cramps before he went missing.
The victims who were trapped in the vehicle have been identified as Suryati Rusly, 37, Nordiana Alwani Jaafar, 33, Asmaa Rusly, 23, Syafawani Jaafar, 11, and Iman Nur Hana Luthfia Mohd Amiruddin, 3.
They were taken to Sultanah Nur Zahirah Hospital for treatment.
The video of the incident went viral on Facebook.
It showed two men trying to save the trapped victims.
The loud cry of a man, believed to be Suryati’s husband, on the pavement along the riverbank caught the attention of anglers who saw the sinking vehicle and immediately jumped into the river to save the trapped victims.