MARAN: Mishaps involving visitors at the Berkelah Waterfall here is quite common, mainly due to negligence.
Pahang Fire and Rescue Department chief Nor Hisham Mohammad said 23 such cases were recorded until early April this year, including drowning, slipping off while on the rocks and getting lost in the jungle while on their way out.
Of that number, 11 were deaths by drowning. Based on official data from the Forestry Department, Berkelah Waterfall consists of seven tiers but there are actually more tiers above the seventh. The seventh and highest fall reaches an estimated height of 50m.
Recently, Nor Hisham took media members to the waterfall site for a demonstration of firefighters’ methods in rescuing drowning victims.
The 40 firemen from the Water Rescue Unit and Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team of Malaysia (Storm) took an hour and forty minutes to haul their equipment to the seventh tier where drowning was prone to happen.
Also taking part was a representative from the Kuala Kubu Baru Firefighters Academy, Mohd Fakhrul Munir Mad Isa.
Nor Hisham said for water rescue, the first move by the firefighters was to get information from witnesses or friends of the victim.
He said following that, two firefighters would dive while another two would be on standby in case something happened to the first two rescuers.
“A commander and another security officer will be on the surface to monitor safety measures such as the weather, water current and the equipment needed.
“Guide ropes will be used as it is the main element in giving signals so that the rescue team can pull up the divers in the water.
Those who are underwater can signal using the rope, to indicate they are having problems or otherwise.
“The rope will also be a guide in determining the areas which have been covered,” he said.
Nor Hisham said search from the surface would also be done depending on the percentage of visibility.
“The visibility near the pool at Berkelah Waterfall is poor, almost zero percent.
“In this case, we will apply the act of sweeping where the divers will hold hands and make a circle along the rope.
“Helicopter service will be called to assist in transporting the victim but this depends on the weather and if not possible then we have to carry the victim.
“This will take longer because there can be difficulties ahead,” he said.