Body of missing fireman found after 19 hours

BUTTERWORTH: The body of a fireman reported missing after falling into the river while carrying out maintenance work on a boat at the Fire and Rescue Department’s Marine Jetty in Mak Mandin on Thursday was found this afternoon, about 19 hours after the tragedy.

Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Nor Hisham Mohammad said the body of Mohd Izwan, 42, was found by the search and rescue (SAR) team at 5.32pm on Friday (Feb 23) within a 20-meter radius from where the victim fell.

"The body was found following a reduced SAR area from the initial plan of 500m to 1km radius to a radius of between 100m and 300m. Prior to that the two dogs from the K9 unit had shown an indication of a 50m radius from the spot where the victim fell.

"So we reduced the radius of the search area, and divers managed to find the body at 5.32pm,” he told reporters at the location on Friday.

Nor Hisham said the body was later handed to the police and taken to the hospital for further action.

He added that the fireman had died in the line of duty, he would be buried with full honours accorded to an officer of the Fire and Rescue Department at his hometown in Kampung Pekan Darat, Seberang Perai Utara.

According to Nor Hisham, the department would now focus on the welfare of the late Mohd Iswan’s family, including his five children.

"When serving the Fire and Rescue Department, no one can be spared the unexpected risks involved, but during such unfortunate incidents, the focus will be on the family's welfare. We will coordinate with the Penang state government,” he said.

During the 10.10pm incident last night, the victim, Mohd Izwan Ilias, 42, who is also a member of the Underwater Rescue Team of the Butterworth Fire and Rescue Station, is said to have fallen into the river while carrying out maintenance work on a boat at the jetty.

Meanwhile, the SAR team comprised 160 individuals, 140 from JBPM, including nine from Perak and 13 from Kedah. They were assisted by 20 police officers.

Meanwhile, the father of the victim, Illias Othman, 77, thanked the SAR team for being able to end their miserable wait, especially that of his wife and five children.

"Thank god the body was found. Though we are all sad, we can now proceed with what needs to be done,” he said. – Bernama

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