KUALA BERANG (Bernama): The father of three brothers who are feared drowned at Sungai Terengganu, at Kampung Kuala Telemong here on Wednesday (May 27), says he did not expect his children to go there without his knowledge.
Mohd Ismail, 64, said he was sweeping at the mosque compound when villagers asked him to go to the river, and he thought it was because his coconuts that he planted near the river had been stolen.
The father of eight said the village folk had wanted him to confirm if certain items found on the riverbank belonged to his children.
"I recognised the slippers, clothes and telephone found by the village folks as their belongings and I am sure those who are feared drowned are my children although their bodies have not been recovered.
"I did not expect them to go to the river because I had strictly forbidden my children from going there even though the river is only 200m from our house, ” he told reporters at the location.
The victims were Umar Iskandar, 21, and his two brothers Khairil Firdaus, 17 and Khalif Naim, 15.
Mohd, a Tenaga Nasional Berhad retiree, said the incident was believed to have occurred when his sixth child, Khalif Naim, was seen to be drowning and Khairil Firdaus tried to save him, followed by Umar Iskandar.
"Before going to the mosque, I saw the three of them sweeping around the house. Their youngest sister, Afrina Atikah, 12, informed me that her brothers had gone to the river to wash their feet.
"They warned her not to tell me about it. Before that, one of them had gone to the bridge to check the river situation, ” he said.
Mohd said there was no obvious change in the behaviour of the boys during the last few days except that they wanted to take a photograph with him on the first day of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, all wearing Baju Melayu of the same colour.
"Umar Iskandar looked at me several times with a look I could not figure out, ” he said.
Meanwhile, Terengganu police chief Datuk Roslee Chik said the search-and-rescue (SAR) operations was resumed at 8am today (May 28), covering a 500m radius from the scene.
The operations involve 60 personnel including policemen, firemen and volunteers.
Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Samsuri Mokhtar, who was also at the location, met the victims’ family as well as the police to get the latest update. – Bernama
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