RBPF rules out foul play in drowning

National 1 minute, 54 seconds

BELAIT

NO FOUL play is suspected in the death of a 14-year-old boy who drowned in a swampy lake behind Jln Kanawai at the Panaga National Housing Scheme on Friday, the Royal Brunei Police Force said yesterday.

Police confirmed the 14-year-old local’s death in a statement issued yesterday, with his family notifying that the Year 9 student had been laid to rest in Anduki, Seria yesterday morning.

The death has shocked the community of 2,000 houses, who described the incident as tragic and sudden, and called for warning signs to be placed along Jln Kanawai to avoid children from venturing into the forest beyond the road side.

The 14-year-old was part of a group of eight who went trekking through the dense grass before stumbling by a small wooden boat positioned nearby a lake, which they took turns to play in.

The consensus among the group of boys, all from Sayyidina Ali Secondary School, was that the tragedy struck when the 14-year-old was swimming and lost his grip on a friend who was in the lake with him.

Mohd Idris Tambang shared the view of many residents who pointed out that the forest beyond Jalan Kanawai had become a regularly traversed area by adults for fishing and vegetables and by children for recreation.

“Clearly we have taken for granted the safety of the area,” said Mohd Idris. “Even though they were in a group, it proved to not be safe. We must not let it happen again.”

Villagers have installed several wooden bridges to allow them to cross over a small river stream that separates the road from the forest which the boys ventured into.

The lake where the teen drowned is a body of water that has no apparent connecting streams, with residents believing it to be a borrow pit — a man made lagoon that forms after the earth is dug and later transported for construction purposes.

“However blaming how the lake came to be can’t be the focus moving forward,” said another resident Noraimi Hj Hamid.

“It may not be possible to always prevent people from physically crossing over (into the forest). So we must find a way to have a meaningful conversation with our children about the dangers to make sure they don't venture there any more.”

The Brunei Times