Toddler drowns after straying from car parked near river


KUANTAN (Bernama): A family outing ended in tragedy when a 20-month-old boy strayed from his father's car, which was parked in an oil palm plantation, before falling into Sungai Felda Jengka 4 in Maran on Wednesday (Sept 16).

Maran district police chief DSP Norzamri Abd Rahman said the body of Muhammad Abdullah Saiful Bahari was found among tree branches in the river by villagers at about 10.30am on Thursday (Sept 16).

The site was 1.2km from where the boy was believed to have fallen into the river, he said when contacted on Thursday.

He said the boy’s father had left him inside the car together with his six-year-old sister and eight-year-old brother at about 12.45pm on Wednesday.

"The father claimed that he left them in the car with the doors open. On realising the toddler was missing about 15 minutes later, he asked the other children about the boy but they also did not know where he had gone," DSP Norzamri said.

The car was parked in a clearing near the river, about 3km from the main road.

DSP Norzamri said police, firemen and Rela personnel had mounted a search for the boy after being told of his disappearance.

The boy’s father, Saiful Bahari Md Isa, 46, said it was normal of him to bring his children to the plantation as he was building a hut there.

"My heart sank when I realised that he was no longer in the car,” he told Bernama at the Hospital Jengka forensic unit here on Thursday.

Saiful Bahari said he immediately started searching for his youngest son but suspected that he might have fallen into the river after seeing the footprints of a toddler along the riverbank.

"I sought the help of friends to look for him. I also dived into the river several times to look for my son but to no avail,” he added.

Saiful Bahari said his car was parked just 10 paces from where he was erecting the hut. – Bernama

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