Survivor thanks his rescuers

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 25 Jan 2003


JOHOR BARU: All the “thank yous” in the world will not be enough for Sjn Saad Che Omar to show his gratitude to two police officers who spotted him after his 31 hours at sea. 

“I am grateful to God for allowing you to spot me in the vast sea ... I thank you for finding me,” the RMAF commando told Chief Insp Husin Mohd Noor and Insp Salihin Othman who visited him at Sultanah Aminah Hospital yesterday. 

Chief Insp Husin, who is Mersing internal security and public order chief, and Insp Salihin, who is attached to the marine police, were in their helicopter when they saw a dark object bobbing in the waves some two nautical miles off Tanjung Siang about 5.35pm on Tuesday. 

WELL-WISHERS:Najib presenting a hamper to Sjn Saad while Rosmah looks on at the Sultanah Aminah Hospital in Johor Baru yesterday.

They came closer and were relieved to discover that their search was over. They hovered over Sjn Saad while waiting for an RMAF helicopter to arrive and pluck him out of the water. 

“Initially, we thought we saw a black ball and after closer inspection, we realised that it was one of the men we were searching for,” said Chief Insp Husin. 

The 34-year-old Sjn Saad said no words could describe his feelings when he saw Chief Insp Husin’s helicopter, especially when an earlier helicopter came but could not spot him. 

“I was already too weak and tired to swim or even float. 

“While I tried to be optimistic, I knew deep in my heart that if they did not find me soon, my chances of survival were slim,” he said.  

Defence Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, Deputy Minister Datuk Shafie Apdal and top military brass visited Sjn Saad at the hospital yesterday. 

Najib spent 15 minutes and wished Sjn Saad a speedy recovery. 

Sjn Saad, who was discharged yesterday, said he would be resting for a few weeks at his home at the RMAF quarters in Jugra, Banting. 

Then he would go back to his kampung in Jitra, Kedah, for a thanksgiving kenduri

“More importantly, I want to offer prayers for my two friends who perished,” he said. 

Sjn Saad was among six RMAF commandos who had left Tanjung Leman jetty to look for a training site near Pulau Sibu when their boat capsized at 10.30am on Sunday. 

Those who managed to swim to shore on the same day were Mej Aundrey Smith, 43, Kapt Damian Sebastian, 30, and Sjn Radzi Abdul Majid, 35. 

The bodies of Kpl Hasrul Abdul and Kpl Ayub Sidek, both 27, were found tied to each other. 

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