Copter tragedy: Families still reeling from loss

SIK: The elder sister of one of the 10 victims of the two Navy helicopters that crashed in Lumut, Perak on Tuesday (April 23) morning, did not expect the return of Warrant Officer II TLR (AQM) Muhammad Faisol Tamadun, 36, to Kedah for Aidilfitri to become the last meeting with her youngest brother.

Noryani Tamadun, 50, said Faisol returned a week before Aidilfitri to celebrate with the family before returning to Sabah on the second day of Raya for duty.

"He did say he was taking part in rehearsals for the 90th Royal Malaysian Navy Anniversary Parade at the Lumut naval base in Perak and asked me and family to go see it but I said it was too far.

"I was shocked when this morning at 10.15am, just home from selling nasi lemak, my sister who works in Pahang called to inform me that my youngest brother had died in a helicopter accident...,” she said at her home in Kampung Tanjung near here on Tuesday.

Recalling her brother's friendly character, she said several times, he did sound a bit strange.

"On the morning of Raya, he said, ‘Let's take a picture with the three of us for the last time... (because) when I return to Sabah, two left'. He also asked me to cook rice with salted fish and eggs... again he said it ... '(is to relish) for the last time'," Noryani said.

"He has been in Sabah for two years. He was expected back in Perak this December to retire and turn our late mother's house in Kampung Tanah Hitam into a homestay enterprise."

Noryani said Faisol had been keen on the Navy since his schooldays and joined it after Form Five, adding that their mother, Fatimah Abdullah died at 68 in August after their father Tamadun Osman died in January at 70.

She said Faisol leaves behind a wife Nor Syuhada, 37, and two daughters aged six and 10, and his remains will be buried at the Sik Dalam Muslim Cemetery here.

Meanwhile, in PENANG, the family of Commander Muhammad Firdaus Ramli was still reeling from the tragic fate of its eldest son.

Firdaus' younger sister Syahira said her parents left for the naval base in Lumut as soon as they learned about the tragedy that claimed nine other lives.

"We are waiting for further news from father regarding brother's development," she said at the family's home in Pantai Jerejak on the island near George Town on Tuesday.

Syahira described Firdaus, 44, who is the eldest of seven siblings, as a very kind person.

She said Firdaus was based in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah and was in Lumut for training since the beginning of this month.

She said he leaves behind a wife and a four-year-old son who are in Kota Kinabalu.

Warrant Officer II Muhammad Faisol Tamadun (a HOM crew) and Commander Muhammad Firdaus were among the 10 victims who died in the tragedy at 9.32am, which involved seven Navy Maritime Operation Helicopter (HOM) crew and three more TLDM Fennec crew.

Firdaus was the Commanding Officer of Squadron 503.- Bernama

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