‘All my children are gone, just like that’

/ 11:17 AM January 01, 2019

DUNGUN, Malaysia — The three children who drowned off the beach in Dungun were supposed to start school today, said their father.


“They were supposed to start school tomorrow, but now all my children are gone, just like that,’ said 42-year-old Zawawi Abd Wahab.

His daughters Nurain Fatma Zawawi, 10, Nurain Sofia, 8, and Nurain Sasabila, 6, were found drowned in Sura Tengah Beach in Dungun yesterday.


The agony and despair of losing their children all at once was too much to bear for Zawawi and their mother Nur Syahida Abdullah, 36, as well as for relatives and those at the Dungun Hospital when the bodies were brought in.

“The last time I saw them was when I took them to school at SK Perol (Kelantan) to get their text books on Sunday,” Zawawi said.

He said they had just gone home to Kampung Peringat in Kelantan from a family holiday in Hatyai, Thailand, on Saturday, and his children decided to join their aunt Suriani Abdullah, 41, for an outing with several other family members to Dungun, Terengganu.

“My wife and I were not keen to follow as we were tired and wanted to get things done as the first day of school (in the east coast) starts tomorrow. All their school preparations were complete,” he said.

Dungun Fire and Rescue Station chief Asst Supt Saifuddin Muhammad said investigations found the two younger siblings were enjoying the breeze by the beach when a huge wave came and swept the children into the sea.

“The eldest sister, Nurain Fatma tried to rescue her siblings, but she was also swept under,” he said.

Saifuddin said a rescue team rushed to the scene after they were alerted at 7:09 pm on Sunday.


A search and rescue operation was mounted with the police, the Civil Defence Force and the public.

Yesterday, rescuers recovered the children’s bodies between three and five kilometres from where they were swept away.

The Malaysian Meteorological Department said yesterday that strong north-easterly winds of 40-50 kmh with waves up to 3.5m are expected off Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, Sarawak and Western Sabah until Thursday.

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