DUNGUN: The Fire and Rescue Department Thursday airlifted 13 timber workers out of the Hulu Kelamin jungle here where they were trapped for almost a week with food running short after their kongsi was cut off by floods.
The 12 men and one woman, looking exhausted and frightened, were flown out of Pasir Raja by a helicopter from the Subang Fire and Rescue Air Unit in Selangor at about 1.30pm and brought to the Al-Muktafi Billah Shah Fire and Rescue Station here.
Subang Fire and Rescue Air Unit senior assistant superintendent Khairil Azuan Jamaluddin said the rescue operation was completed in about 10 minutes but only after the helicopter was forced to land and wait in nearby Kampung Peneh owing to thick mist in the kongsi area.
Once the mist cleared, the helicopter landed near the kongsi and brought out the workers, he said.
One of the workers, Roslan Hamid, 52, said they contacted their employer after the floodwaters rose all of a sudden and were told to be patient as they would get help.
He said some of his colleagues tried to use rafts, floats and tires in their attempt to get through the floods for fear they would be left without any food but it was in vain.
“We could only pray for help to come,” he told Bernama.
Another worker, Tahir Rikan, 30, was grateful that they were rescued from the kongsi where it was getting cold and food was depleting.
“I was worried and frightened that we would not be able to get out of the jungle, what with the heavy rain and all.
It was most frightening as food was running out and we began to lose telephone contact,” he said.
The Terengganu Fire and Rescue Department tried to undertake the rescue but was beaten back by the rising and swift-flowing current of the river, and then decided to seek the assistance of the Subang Fire and Rescue Air Unit. – Bernama