In a tragedy that happened on the first day of the new year, nine people from a family drowned after their four-wheel-drive (4WD) rolled off a ferry at Triso wharf in Beladin, Betong Divison in Sarawak
According to Sri Aman district police chief Deputy Superintendent Bingkok John, the driver of the 4WD, which plunged into Sungai Batang Lupar on Friday 1 January, is said to have lost control.
The Ford Ranger, driven by a 33-year-old woman identified as Ronany Ting, was on its way to Kuching from Kapit, via the Jalan Beladin-Meludam route, when the tragedy occurred, killing all nine passengers.
"We believe the driver had lost control of the vehicle, causing it to veer and slide into the river," Bingkok said, adding that people who were at the jetty area managed to tie the vehicle with iron chains and ropes to the jetty, to stop it from sinking further, before removing all the victims.
Of the nine killed in the heartbreaking tragedy, three of them were teenagers, three were children, and a four-month-old infant
All nine victims have since been identified.
Apart from the driver Ronany Ting, there was another female named Siti Aisha Abdullah, aged 36.
The three teenagers were identified as Nor Shuhada Mohamad, aged 16, Khairunnisa Muhamad, aged 14, and Alvin Phang, aged 12. While the three children were identified as Wallace Phang and Mohd Aiman Mohd Hamdan, both aged seven, Muhd Mustaqim Mohd Hamdan, aged five.
The four-month-old infant was identified as Mohd Ahmad Mohd Hamdan.
A spokesman from the Sarawak Fire and Rescue Department operations centre said the victims were trapped in their vehicle
According to videos and photos circulating on social media platforms, members of the public were seen helping to extricate the victims who were trapped in the submerged vehicle.
They were also seen giving cardiopulmonary resuscitation to the victims after helping to recover the victims, who were already lifeless, from the submerged vehicle.