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Three students drown
Published on: Sunday, April 30, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: A three-day outing for 119 students of SMK Putatan turned tragic when three of them drowned while crossing a stream at Echo Lake in Membakut, Saturday – the second such incident within two months.Police identified them as 17-year-old Quzaimi Jakaria from Kg Sedomon, Petagas; 16-year-old Danial Norman Norisham from Simpang Empat, Jalan Masjid Kg Petagas and 16-year-old Hafiz Hamizan Rahman from Taman Pasir Putih, Putatan.

On March 10, three adolescent students drowned at Kg Inanam Laut after going for a dip.

Other drowning cases earlier involved a 17-year-old student at Tg Aru Beach and a 12-year-old boy at the bridge near Times Square.

Beaufort Police Chief DSP Azmir Abd Razak said initial findings showed that the boys and four others started facing difficulty as they were crossing a stream at 9.40am.

Apparently, the students got stuck in the mud at the base of the stream resulting in three of them drowning, while the other four, comprising two girls and two boys, escaped unhurt.

The four identified as Muhammad Hafis Jabir, 16, from Taman Sri Kinarut, Siti Norhayati Sunardi Alias, 16, from Taman Ketiu Putatan , Muhammad Syahril Danial Muloi, 16, from Kg Contoh Kuala Petagas and Afifah Nasser, 17, from Kg Pasir Putih, were rushed to the Beaufort Hospital where they are reported to be in stable condition.

The students were part of a Students Leadership Camp programme organised by the school that featured hiking and jungle trekking where students were divided into 10 groups, each group accompanied by a teacher.

Also at the scene were six personnel from the Beaufort Fire and Rescue Department led by Rayboi Jumari.

The rescue team were at the scene 25km away following a distress call. Meanwhile, State Education Director Datuk Maimunah Suhaibul said 120 students were initially listed to take part in the Students Leadership Camp organised by SMK Putatan, but 119 turned up.

She said the three-day camp which began on April 28 involved students aged 16 and 17, comprising school prefects and class monitors from the school, adding that the programme which was scheduled to end on April 30 was cut short following the incident.

"I was made to understand that part of the programme included jungle trekking and hiking, and that the school obtained approval from the Penampang Education Office to hold the camp outside the district.

"The working papers did not state that it included going through a water passage, but I was made to understand that one of the students slipped, prompting the other students to try pulling him out.

"When the teacher arrived at the scene, they were sent to the Membakut Hospital but could not be saved," she said, adding that the school has informed the parents of the incident.

"The parents understood the situation, the camping programme has been approved and the parents have consented to their children attending the camp.

"All efforts and actions by teachers handling the programme has been taken to ensure safety of the students, all procedures have been followed, nobody expected something like this to happen," she said, adding a report would be forward to the Education Ministry.

She also reminded all schools on the importance of obtaining permission from the Education Department prior to organising any programmes, as well as to obtain parental consent before allowing students to take part in any programme.

"Teachers are also advised to check in advance which routes should be followed by students during jungle trekking or hiking activities organised by schools.

"I was informed that they did check, but we cannot be sure until we obtain information on what actually happened," she said.

She also said four students who witnessed the incident are stable but traumatised after witnessing the incident which claimed the lives of their three friends. - Sherell Ann Jeffrey and Tracy Patrick



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