‘Lifeguards needed at popular beaches’

  • Nation
  • Monday, 20 Jan 2020

Tragic end: Search and rescue personnel bringing the remains of one of the drowning victims ashore in Terengganu. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: Lifeguards should be stationed at certain stretches of popular beaches during weekends or public holidays in view of a recent spate of drowning cases, says a water safety expert.

“I don’t expect lifeguards to be at the rivers and waterfalls but at least at the popular beaches.

“These are the places where there is a need for lifeguards.

“I hope the government can consider this. This is to make sure there are lifeguards at notable places for holidaymakers, ” Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye said when contacted.

However, the National Water Activity Safety Council member acknowledged that the stationing of lifeguards at these safety hotspots would most likely depend on the government’s budget.

“It would be difficult if there is no budget for it, ” Lee said.

On Friday, four students from Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Polytechnic were swept away by strong waves at Pantai Teluk Bidara in Terengganu.

After two days of searches, rescue workers found the remains of all four victims yesterday.

About a week earlier, a happy trip for a group of 15 Universiti Teknologi Mara Chendering students turned tragic when two of them were swept away by waves at Pantai Pandak, Terengganu.

Lee said the council had called for several hotspots to be monitored, adding that the local authorities too must do their part to put up signs to warn beachgoers.

He said some of the hotspots included Pulau Sari in Sarawak, Pantai Bagang Lalang in Selangor and Kampung Tempurung, Kuala Penyu in Sabah.

Lee said that although there has not been any directive to close down beaches, it could be looked into during the monsoon season.

The east coast of the peninsula is hit by the north-east monsoon, which brings about heavy rain that often floods parts of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Johor, Sarawak and Sabah.

The north-east monsoon is expected to last until March.

“The east coast beaches have very long stretches.

“In some areas, firemen are stationed there as a safety measure but they cannot be deployed everywhere, ” he said.

Lee also urged the public to be more alert of the risks and hazards when engaging in water activities.

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