KUANTAN: The host of a popular adventure programme in Europe, Nikolai Zimin, and his son drowned during the filming of an adventure programme Nikolai Zimin's Tropical Adventure at the Sungai Tipoh rapids near Kuala Lipis on Sunday.
Zimin, 44, and Andrey, 17, drowned when the rubber dinghy they were travelling in together with Zimin's wife, Elina Zimina, 44, and their daughter Maria, 15, hit a rock in the middle of the rapids at 11.45am.
Lipis OCPD Supt Mohd Sakaruddin Che Mood said the Russian family was thrown into the water and swept off by the strong current.
Elina and Maria clung on to a boulder before they were rescued by participants of the programme in several boats.
“It was believed that Nikolai and Andrey could not cling on to the boulder and drowned in the strong current,” he said.
Mohd Sakaruddin said the bodies of the two victims were found under some rocks and wood debris near the spot where the accident occurred.
A rescue team comprising personnel from the Royal Malaysia Police Air Unit, Nuri, Lipis Fire and Rescue Station and villagers from Kuala Medang found the two bodies late yesterday evening.
A statement from the Malaysian Tourism Promotion Board (Tourism Malaysia) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday said Zimin had arrived in Pahang last week, sponsored by Tourism Malaysia and the Pahang state government to shoot a television tourism adventure series.
The statement said the series was popular in Russia and Europe and showed the family's travels in scenic places around the globe.
In Pahang, a section of the programme involved an expedition using rubber dinghies along the 300km Pahang River.
The statement said after the Pahang River activities, Zimin was scheduled to continue shooting on diving activities at Pulau Tioman.
The remains of the two victims, accompanied by Elina and Maria, arrived at the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Sungai Besai by Nuri helicopter from Kuala Lipis at about 6.40pm. – Bernama