BALIK PULAU: Religious teacher Ku Abdul Halim Ku Taha was composed when news first came that the body of his 19-year-old son had been found.
He had cut a forlorn figure at the search and rescue operation base near Penang National Park entrance. But when the body of his son Ku Muhammad Ilyas was brought to shore, the tears began welling up in his eyes.
Still, Ku Abdul Halim put up a brave front and thanked the authorities and residents for taking part in the search.
“Thanks for all the help rendered and prayers offered throughout the last three days. Alhamdulilah (praise be to God), we managed to find him,” he said, adding that his son would be buried at his hometown in Bukit Mertajam.
At about 4pm yesterday, a team from the Fire and Rescue Department found the floating body some 3.4km to the north of Pantai Kerachut near Muka Head.
Ku Muhammad Ilyas was the third victim to be fished out after he went for a swim with four others in the waters off Pantai Kerachut in Teluk Bahang on Saturday.
The team-building event organised by Oriental Advertising turned tragic when five of them were swept away by strong waves.
On Sunday, the body of Ashwan-paljit Singh Charnjit Singh, 23, was found several metres away from where he was swept away.
The body of P. Yogambigai, 24, was found at 4.35pm on Saturday.
Two others – Norhayati Nasrul, 22, and Nurain Nabilah Mokhtar, 21, – were saved from the waters.
Ku Abdul Halim said he was told that his son had actually gone in to help Yogambigai but was instead swept out to the open sea.
Describing his son as adventurous but physically frail, he said he only allowed his son to take swimming lessons recently.
Operations commander Insp Mohd Zin Mat Ali said 78 people from various agencies, 10 boats and a helicopter were involved in the search.
Marketing personnel rescued his friends with his ability