KOTA KINABALU: Avid travel couple Adanan@Adnan Jeman and Dr Rumihati Abd Hamid had been looking forward to their vacation in New Zealand with their three daughters earlier this month.
Their main itinerary, according to their family members, was to visit a mosque in Christchurch which was attacked by terrorists.
However, the annual overseas family vacation turned tragic following a collision with a lorry in Kaikoura, a coastal town on the South Island of New Zealand, on Friday.
In the 3.10pm (10.10am Malaysian time) incident, Adanan and Dr Rumihati, both 49, and their second daughter Nuraleeyah Maisarah Arifah, 13, died at the scene.
Their eldest daughter Nur Irfan, 15, succumbed to her injuries at about 6.30pm New Zealand time (1.30pm Malaysian time) yesterday.
The couple’s youngest daughter, Nur Arifah, 12, who was seriously injured, is being treated at the Wellington Hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.
Dr Rumihati’s niece, Afifah Shaiffudin, said she remembered her aunt, the youngest of nine siblings, as a strict but nice person, probably because she was a doctor.
“Travelling was their way of relaxing from their busy lives here.
“The accident was a huge shock and their deaths are a great loss for us all, ” she said when met at the family home in Ulu Putatan here.
Afifah said she was informed about the incident from another uncle who was alerted by the authorities in Putrajaya.
“Seven of our relatives have arrived in New Zealand and they are handling all matters there.
“Some are with Nur Arifah at the hospital but no one has told the girl about the deaths of her parents and sisters yet as she is still too weak and is constantly drifting in and out of sleep.
“She will be told once doctors deem it fit, ” Afifah said, adding that the family was supposed to return home on Dec 18.
Dr Rumihati was a specialist at the Putatan health clinic while her husband worked with Yayasan Sabah’s forestry arm, Rakyat Berjaya Jelata Sdn Bhd.
Afifah said efforts were being carried out to have the four victims buried in Christchurch as family members were sure it was what the couple would want.