KUANTAN: Tiredness and strong currents caused a would-be rescuer to lose his grip on a 12-year-old boy, who is feared to have drowned in Sungai Belat here on Saturday.
Villager Amirul Alif Halim was fishing at the river at Kampung Jaya Gading here, when he heard the crack of wood and saw victim Mohd Danish Haikal Semar fall into the river.
The 20-year-old was recalling the incident where Danish fell into the river when the log the boy was standing on gave way at 2.15pm.
"I saw the victim's friends stood still in shock. I jumped into the river to rescue the victim.
"When I (had gotten hold on Haikal) and brought him to the riverbank, he started to panic and climbed up my body, causing me to sink under the water.
"I tried several times to catch my breath but it was difficult as I could not come to the surface. Anyone watching the scene would have seen me thrashing in the water in my rescue attempt and also reach out for the riverbank.
"In the end, I grew exhausted and the currents gained strength, so I failed to save him despite trying to again (after the boy was dragged away by river currents)," said Amirul with grave disappointment on his face.
In the incident, Haikal had been fishing with two friends at the riverbank when the log he was standing on gave way and he fell into the river.
Despite not knowing how to swim, the boy is understood to have been an enthusiast for fishing at the river behind his house.
As at 6pm, the Primary Six pupil of SK Jaya Gading here has not been found.
Since yesterday, a search and rescue (SAR) operation have been mobilised by the Fire and Rescue Department, police and the Civil Defence Force.
This was confirmed by Pahang Fire and Rescue Department deputy director Mohd Sani Harul in regards to the SAR, which involved the Fire and Rescue Department's scuba diving unit.
Meanwhile, the boy's mother Nazira Mohd Yusof, 41, is still holding on to the hope of finding him alive.
"I have already accepted the possibility that he may be gone but I still hope to find him (alive).
"The whole family appreciates the assistance from everyone in trying to find Haikal. Hopefully everything would work out in the end," she said.