Strong currents sweep away two teenagers near Penampang

KOTA KINABALU: Strong currents at a Penampang river swept away two teenage boys and trapped four others while they were at a picnic on Saturday (June 18).

Penampang Fire Station chief Zeno Tingalan said the 17-year-old boys had gone to the river in Kg Pogunon and had to cross two streams before reaching the main swimming area.

“So as they were swimming, the currents suddenly grew strong,” he said when contacted on Sunday (June 19).

He said four of the boys managed to scramble to higher levels while two others - Harold Walter and Tomansi Olaf - did not make it.

The four - Jeremiah Maxwell, Constant Felix, Jameson Johnwai and Bryan Lee - were then trapped where they were as they could not cross the streams to get home.

Zeno said when firemen were notified of the incident at around 4.10pm, teams of rescuers were sent to rescue the victims.

“Due to the strong river currents, one of our men had to tie himself with a rope while bringing life jackets to the four boys across the river,” he said.

He said this fireman was forced to brace the current, half swimming-half clinging on to a rope he was tied to while others held on from the other end, to get to the boys.

“Once there, he asked the boys to put the life jackets on while he secured the rope on a steady and strong point, before bringing the boys across one by one,” Zeno said.

He said the search for the missing duo is ongoing as of 6.30am on Sunday, with divers and tracking dogs involved.

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