A man is feared drowned while trying to save five passengers in a four-wheel-drive vehicle which plunged into Sungai Terengganu on Pulau Warisan at about 9.30 pm last night.
It is understood that the victim, Abdul Bari Asyraf Mohd, 31, from Kampung Panji, Kuala Terengganu, was fishing with a friend before a Mitsubishi Storm vehicle which was parked nearby started to slide and plunged into the river.
Besides Bari, two other men were believed to have tried to save the passengers, but only they themselves managed to get back safely to land. The five passengers in the vehicle were also safe.
Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department operation head Mazimi Mohamad said 21 officers rushed to the scene after receiving a distress call at about 9.45 pm.
Mazimi said the incident happened when the driver of the four-wheel-drive attempted to shift the car but accidentally put it in reverse, causing it to move backwards and plunge into the river.
All occupants of the four-wheel-drive were sent to Sultanah Nur Zahirah (HSNZ) Hospital for treatment, he said, adding that the vehicle was recovered at about 1am on Saturday (Feb 9).
A search and rescue (SAR) operation by seven divers was launched to locate Bari.
According to Bari’s mother, Masitah Awang, 60, her son left their home after Asar prayers to go fishing with his good friend.
“Bari really liked to fish. Any free time he had, he would go out fishing with his friends at any fishing spot.
“He went out early today and returned home to pray and have lunch before going out again after Asar,” she said.
Masitah said she only knew of the incident after she was informed by her husband Mohd Mustafa, 66, who received a telephone call from the police at about 10 pm.
The full identity of the car’s occupants has not been established.
A short video clip taken in the moments immediately after the four-wheel-drive vehicle landed in the river was uploaded to Facebook and has gone viral. The footage shows two men trying to save the passengers of the truck, which sinks within seconds.
It is learnt that another man – a passer-by – also jumped into the river to attempt to rescue the Mitsubishi Storm’s passengers.
Omar Abdul Aziz Othman, 27, said he was shopping with his family near the area when the accident occurred.
“…I heard someone shouting for help and I went to check it out. After I saw a car with occupants sinking in the river, I quickly jumped into the water and swam about 50 metres 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,” he said.