KUCHING: Nine members of the public, including two food delivery riders, have been commended for their heroism in rescuing a family of four from their overturned car which landed in a monsoon drain.
State Fire and Rescue Department director Khirudin Drahman said their prompt response within five minutes of the incident on Saturday night (July 17) helped to save four lives.
"The first five minutes are the most important to reduce the impact in an emergency.
"By acting as first responders, these members of the public saved the situation from turning tragic," he said when presenting certificates of appreciation to six of the nine rescuers on Wednesday (July 21).
Abdullah Kassim, who was the first person to jump into the 2m-deep drain, said he was on his way home with his son-in-law when they saw the car skidding and plunging into the drain at Jalan Camar in Petra Jaya here.
The accident was believed to have occurred when the car tried to avoid another vehicle that was coming out of a junction.
"I did not stop to think if there might be snakes or anything – my only thought was to rescue the victims.
"I couldn't do it on my own, so I asked other people who were at the scene to come and help," Abdullah said.
They managed to lift the car a little and open one of its doors to bring out the victims, comprising a couple and two children.
The rescuers managed to free the children first before bringing out the father and then the mother.
When Fire and Rescue Department personnel arrived minutes later, all four victims had been brought to safety and found to have suffered light injuries.
They were attended to by emergency medical services before being sent to hospital.
Grab rider Khairul Izwan Sidek stopped at the scene when he saw a fellow delivery rider at the roadside.
"He told me about the accident and that there was one more victim in the car. I took off my helmet and jumped into the drain to help.
"By that time, three of the victims had already been brought out," he said, adding that his action was not about being brave but wanting to lend a hand in an accident.