Instincts help lost siblings to survive


  • Nation
  • Friday, 12 Nov 2004

BY ZULKIFLI ABD RAHMAN AND NIK NAIZI HUSIN

KUANTAN: The three children who were lost in the jungle ate fruits, drank ground water and kept close to each other to survive their five-day ordeal. 

Six-year-old Saharuddin Salehuddin, who went missing with his brother Budin, five, and his three-year-old sister Mariam on Saturday, said he was not scared when they were lost in the jungle near their house in Kampung Mambang Seberang here. 

Saharuddin, known as Tot by his parents, said: “I wasn’t scared. Yang (referring to Mariam) was crying all the time. Budin was not scared.” 

He said they ate fruits, drank ground water, slept close to each other at night and huddled together in the day, adding that they had followed a “big person” into the jungle. 

Rescuers found the three children of rubber tapper Salehuddin Abdul Halim and housewife Hasmah Sih on Wednesday evening at a small hillock in a swamp in Kampung Tanjung Cempaka, about 6km away from home. 

All's well: Salehuddin and Hasmah with their children at the hospital.

The children were weak and dehydrated and had mosquito bites and scratches on their faces and bodies. 

Salehuddin, 41, said he and his wife were simply relieved that the children were found alive. 

“This coming Raya will be the best one for us.” 

Salehuddin also thanked everyone who had helped to find his children.  

More than 100 people took part in the search-and-rescue operation. 

Pekan OCPD Acting Superintendent Jasmani Yusoff said yesterday that rescuers were perplexed about how the children could have strayed 6km from home. 

He also expressed surprise that the children could wade through a 4m wide stream to get to the hillock.  

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