When I arrived home yesterday, the road leading to my apartment was crowded with cars and motorcycles. there were two police cars too. In the complex compound, there was a fire engine and there was a Civil Defence vehicle and an ambulance. a crowd had gathered by the lake behind my apartment building. The police had stretched their 'crime scene' tape from several trees and fixtures on the edge of the lake. There were several police officers there including the OCPD and the Sergeant in charge of the area.
In the water, several members of the Civil Defence Search and Rescue team were looking for something underwater. Two of them were throwing and dragging in a hook in the lake. I met Mr Siva, Mr Tham and Mr Din, members of my apartment's residents committee and they told me that three boys had drowned in the lake and that those people were trying to recover their bodies.
There was a group pf people with the police, I guessed they were parents of the children and their neighbours. Some of them seems very distraught. There were many in tears among them, some seemed inconsolable.
The crowd steadily grew for a while as we watched them search. Once of twice, it seemed like they found something but when the dove in, they came up empty.
As the dusk descended and night was approaching, the crowd thinned. I too made my way home to break fast. When I came out that night, the guard told me that they had found the bodies. It seems that a few moments after I left, the frogmen arrived. It only took them a few moments to find the boys. So the loaded the bodies onto the waiting ambulance and took them to the hospital for post-mortem examinations.
It was certainly a reminder that death is often unexpected and that our lives are never as secure as we imagine it to be. However, it was something that one of my neighbours said that really shoed me the character of us Malaysians. First he reminded me of the suicide case at the same lake some time back. A man had parked his car beside the lake and simply walked into the lake to drown himself. There were a few people fishing there but they had initially thought that the man was being foolish. When they realised what was really happening, they tried to save him but it was too late. Then, my neighbour shook his head sadly and said, "Haiyaaa, this place sure haunted one now".
I guess he was not the only one who felt the same way because last night, the apartment building was unusually quiet. I think I did not even hear any motorcycles come and go from the building after night fall.
The report below is the report on the deaths in the New Strait Times newspaper today.
3 schoolboys drown during fishing outing
KUALA LUMPUR: A fishing trip turned into a tragedy for six primary school students when three of them drowned in a lake in Pandan Perdana here yesterday.
The three were Muhammad Faris Ahmad Azazi, 9, Al Mujib Muneir and Shah Nazim Amir Riduan, both 12.
A member of the group, Hazlan Alham, 12, said they had gone to the lake, about 500 metres from their flats, at noon.
"It's a school holiday in Selangor and we had planned to spend the day fishing at the lake," he said at the Ampang Hospital last night.
Hazlan said most of the boys, all students of Sekolah Kebangsaan Cheras Indah, only informed their parents that they were just hanging out with friends.
The boys decided to jump into the lake about 1.30pm to cool themselves. But tragedy struck when Faris started struggling in the water.
"We all tried to save him, but Al Mujib and Shah Nazim Amir also encountered difficulty," Hazlan said, adding that the rest of the group called for help from a man fishing nearby and passers-by.
"Some of them called the Fire and Rescue Department but by that time, it was too late because my three friends had disappeared into the water."
Faris' mother, Rohani Mohd Noor, 51, said she last saw the younger of her two children around noon.
"He told me he was hanging out with friends. At 4pm, while I was cooking for buka puasa, two of his friends came and told me that he had drowned."
A Fire and Rescue Department spokesman said they received an emergency call at 4.29pm and their divers recovered the first body at 6.36pm.
"The second body was found at 7.16pm, followed by the last body at 7.21pm."