Boy watches as family drowns: Holiday safety and childhood trauma tips

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"He saw how one by one, his parents and three siblings were sucked by the strong current, making him an orphan in a blink of an eye."

It’s the holiday season and during this time, many families round up their loved ones and set off on family trips.

On Saturday (19 December), a holidaying family of six who chose to picnic at the Belukar Bukit waterfall in Hulu Terengganu, Malaysia experienced an unthinkable tragedy.

Nine-year-old Mohammed Hasif Abdul Halim could only watch in horror as his parents and three sisters drowned in front of him, during the picnic, according to Yahoo news.

The waterfall has areas that are up to 10m deep and visitors are warned to be extra careful. While it is a scenic spot, popular for picnics, the waterfall poses a deadly hazard for swimmers as whirlpools formed by opposing currents in the river have been reported.

The victims were Abdul Halim Samian, 44, his wife Nurul Adila Awang, 39, and their three daughters, Nurul Arifah, 16, Nurul Hidayah Aina, 11, and Nurul Izah, 10.

Their surviving son, Mohd Hasif did not join them in the water and was instead, playing near the bank.

drowning

The remains of the family were buried together.

The nearby Fire and Rescue station’s commander of operations, Mohd Zuraidi Yusof, stated that they believed the family had gone to the waterfall around 10.30am, a time during which few others are present.

The commander added that “We believe they tried to save each other from drowning after a sudden rapid current above the waterfall brought down a huge column of water and swept the five away”.

Mohd Zuraidi said that the Fire and Rescue Department officials were alerted around 11.35am, and arrived at the scene around 12.20pm.

The commander reported that through the efforts on the part by members of the public and rescue officials, all the bodies were retrieved by 12.37pm. He added that the bodies were handed over to police and were then brought to the nearby Hulu Terengganu Hospital for a post mortem.

Terengganu Menteri Besar Datuk Seri (Chief Minister of State) Ahmad Razif Abdul Rahman has called on authorities to heighten awareness and observation of recreational sites and national parks in the state with emphasis on the holiday and monsoon season.

The incident affected 10-year-old Mohd Hasif greatly. Read on to find out about the effects of trauma on children.

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