PETALING JAYA: A quick decision to play dead instead of making a run for it most likely saved 39-year-old Rahimi Ahmad’s life.
He was one of more than 150 people performing Friday prayers at a mosque in Christchurch when a gunman, identified as Brenton Harrison Tarrant, aged 28, fired indiscriminately at the congregation.
More than 50 people are confirmed dead and another 50 injured in the 30-minute carnage on two of the three mosques in the city on the South Island of New Zealand. They are the Al-Noor Mosque and Linwood Islamic Centre.
Rahimi, who was caught in the attack on Al-Noor Mosque, fell after sustaining two gunshots in the abdomen. Instead of trying to get up to escape, he pretended to be dead. In the ensuing minutes, the gunman moved on to find other victims.
According to Bayan Lepas state assemblyman Azrul Mahathir Aziz, he is now being treated for the wounds at the Christchurch Hospital. “He is expected to be wheeled in for a ‘wash out’ procedure to clear infections on Monday,“ Azrul told theSun.
He had joined Penang state executive councillor Phee Boon Poh to visit the Malaysian victims of the shooting. Rahimi’s mother Rokiah Mohammad, 65, and brother Rosdi Ahmad, 42, were also at the hospital to see him. The family is from Bayan Lepas.
Azrul said Rahimi, who works in a milk factory in New Zealand, remained on a ventilator in an intensive care unit of the hospital.
The delegation from Penang had earlier arrived in Christchurch after a 13-hour flight from Kuala Lumpur. They rushed to the Christchurch Hospital as soon as they landed at 5am today.
The other Malaysians injured in the attack are Nazril Omar and Mohd Tarmizi Shuib.
Nazril, from Kelantan, sustained wounds on his feet and back. His condition is reported to be stable but he remains sedated.
Mohd Tarmizi, from Kedah, is scheduled to undergo another round of surgery for injuries sustained on his back. He is also said to be in stable condition.
However, his son Muhd Haziq is still missing.
Phee, who is chairman of the welfare, caring society and environment committee in the Penang government, expressed his gratitude to the New Zealand authorities for their prompt action as well as professionalism and care for the Malaysian victims.
He also pointed out that the spirit of being Malaysian was evident from the fact that the Canterbury Society of Malaysia had taken up the role as a support group for the families struck by the tragedy.
However, he said, the fate of Muhd Haziq remains the biggest worry for most Malaysians. “Malaysians have banded together to pray for the 17-year-old,“ Phee added.