“They were supposed to start school tomorrow, but now all my three children are gone, just like that.”
Such was the pain and grief of 42-year-old Zawawi Abd Wahab, whose daughters Nurain Fatma Zawawi, 10, Nurain Sofia, 8, and Nurain Sasabila, 6, drowned in Sura Tengah Beach on Sunday (Dec 30). Their bodies were recovered on Monday (Dec 31) morning.
The agony and despair of losing the three children all at once was just too much to bear not only for Zawawi, but also for their distraught mother Nur Syahida Abdullah, 36, as well as for relatives and those present at the Dungun Hospital here, including members of the media.
“The last time I saw them alive was when I took them to their school at Sekolah Kebangsaan Perol, Kelantan, to get their textbooks yesterday (Sunday) morning,” Zawawi said.
“My wife and I were not keen to follow them as we were tired and wanted to get some things done at home as the first day of school (in the east coast) starts tomorrow. All their school preparations are complete,” he said.
In the incident at about 6.40pm Sunday, the three girls were swept away by waves while playing on the beach.
Dungun District Police chief Supt Baharudin Abdullah said the body of Nurain Sofia was found at 7.48am about five kilometres from the scene, while the body of Nurain Sasabila was found at 9.40am, about one kilometre away.
The body of the eldest sister Nurain Fatma was found by passers-by at the beach, about five kilometres from the scene at 11.03am.
“The bodies of the three siblings were taken to the Dungun Hospital for further investigation and would be buried at their maternal grandmother’s village in Rantau Panjang, Kelantan,” he said.
The search and rescue operation to locate the siblings at Pantai Sura Tengah was carried out by 73 personnel from the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia, the Royal Malaysia Police, and the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM).