Firemen followed SOP: DG

04 Oct 2018 / 22:17 H.

SEPANG: The six firemen who drowned at a disused mining pool at Taman Putra Perdana here is the fire and rescue department's worst disaster involving its own personnel.
It was a highly dangerous mission not unusual to the brave rescuers who observed the standard operating procedures (SOP) of a search-and-rescue mission in water and took all the necessary precautions.
The divers wore life jackets and roped their waists to each other before wading towards the gushing waterfall at chest level waters.
The men were to form a chain along the base of the waterfall to search in pitch darkness for a 17-year-old boy who is believed to have fallen into the waters earlier at about 5pm on Wednesday.
However, as the divers edged towards it - unaware of the strong undercurrents created by the high velocity of the falling water, all hell broke loose.
They slipped and were violently dragged into the choppy waters, struggling to stay afloat even with life vests on.
This went on for about three minutes before the fatigued divers succumbed to the rough water conditions.
Their colleagues quickly went to their aid and over the next 30 minutes, they were pulled out from the troubled waters. However, all six courageous men were unconscious and attempts to revive them by paramedics was futile.
The heroic divers who are from the water rescue unit of the Shah Alam and Port Klang stations were identified as Yahya Ali, 24, Mazlan Omarbaki, 25, Muhammad Hifdzul Malik Shaari, 25, Izatul Akma Wan Ibrahim, 32, Adnan Othman, 33 and Mohd Fatah Hashim, 34.
Fire and Rescue Department Director-General Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said the fallen firemen had observed SOP in the search and rescue mission but were overcome by the violent water conditions.
He said the men had formed a human chain to sweep the bed of the mining pool in search for the victim.
Hamdan said the case which is the worst in the fire and rescue department's history involving fatalities of its own men will be studied and new measures will be taken to avoid the recurrence of such an incident.
Despite the tragic loss of their six colleagues, firemen buried their anguish over the incident and resumed the search for the missing teenager as early as 8am yesterday at the mining pool.
Sepang police chief ACP Abdul Aziz Ali when contacted said divers from the marine police unit were also assisting in the search for the missing boy.
He said the firemen's drowning case was classified as sudden death.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that the Selangor government ordered the Sepang Municipal Council to shut down the mining pool in Taman Putra Perdana, Puchong upon completion of the search-and-rescue operations for the missing teenager.
Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said the closure was necessary following several drowning cases reported in the area.
"The closure will take effect as soon as the SAR operations, now being conducted there are completed," he told reporters after meeting the family members of the firefighters at the Fire and Rescue Station in Section 15 here yesterday.
Amirudin said he also ordered the municipal council to close the route to the mining pool which was a popular fishing site.
He added that the Selangor government had agreed to contribute ​​​​​​​RM20,000 to each family of the firefighters who died in the incident.
Earlier, last rites were performed on the bodies of the six firefighters at the Section 15 fire station at about 9am.
Two of the fallen firemen were from the Shah Alam fire station while the rest were from the Port Klang fire station.
Hamdan who was also at the ceremony said the families of the men will receive financial aid in accordance to the civil servants compensation package and also from the department's welfare fund.

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