Boy, 14, who drowned was almost rescued: Witness
Man who tried to save victim managed to grab his hand, but had to let go as he was also being swept away
A group of teenage boys did not heed a fisherman's warning not to swim in the sea off Changi Beach Park last Saturday as it was high tide with strong currents.
Soon after the teens entered the water, two of them experienced difficulties.
One was rescued, but the other was swept away.
Putera Muhammad Indra Shazrine Suzaini, 14, was later found by divers from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) about 15m from shore.
He was pronounced dead at the scene by a paramedic.
Yesterday, the niece of the fisherman who warned the boys told The New Paper that Putera was almost rescued.
Relating what her uncle had told her, Ms Nasatiqah Fatin, 28, said her uncle's friends tried to save the two boys when they saw that they were in trouble.
"One of the friends was able to grab (Putera's) hand, but in the end he had to let go because his life was also in danger," she said.
"Both of them would have been swept away," said the nurse, who added that her uncle's friend managed to get to shore only with the help of a lifebuoy.
Ms Nasatiqah said it was raining at the time, and her uncle had warned the group not to go into the sea because of the high tide and strong currents.
NO IDEA WHERE SON WAS
When Putera's mother, 35, received calls from the police and his friends about the tragedy, she could scarcely believe her ears as she had no idea he had gone to the beach with about five of his school friends.
She was inconsolable and in shock when she arrived at the scene.
She later told Chinese-language newspaper Shin Min Daily News that Putera was well-behaved and sensible, but also timid.
So she had not expected him to go swimming in the sea, especially since he did not know how to swim.
Putera's stepfather, Mr Putra Muhd Arffi, 40, said he was the eldest of three boys. The other two are aged 13 and one.
Mr Putra, who works in pest control, told The Straits Times yesterday at the mortuary in the Singapore General Hospital that he did not know much about the incident.
"I just know he was there with some of his friends from school. I also know there were some fishermen nearby who tried to help in the rescue," he said.
The SCDF said they received a call for "water rescue assistance" at Changi Beach at about 3.30pm last Saturday.
They found one person on the shore who was assessed by an SCDF paramedic before he was taken to Changi General Hospital (CGH).
This boy was Putera's 16-year-old friend, Shin Min reported. TNP understands he is in stable condition.
As there was no sign of Putera, divers from SCDF's Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team were deployed and recovered his body.
The police are investigating the unnatural death.
One of Putera's friends told Shin Min that he had rescued the 16-year-old boy who was taken to CGH, but he could not reach Putera in time.
Choking back tears, he said: "It happened so suddenly. They kept struggling in the water... After a while, (Putera) was nowhere to be seen. I tried to save him, but it was too late. His hand was gone."
A large group of family and friends accompanied Putera's parents to collect the body from the mortuary yesterday, ST reported.
GONE TO STUDY
The boy's step-granduncle, Mr Noor Azman Marwi, 56, told ST that the family thought Putera had gone to study with a group of friends on the day of his death.
The transport company owner said the boy was quiet and did not like to talk but was good to his parents.
He would sometimes tag along with his stepfather for events organised by a motorbike charity club, of which both men are members, Mr Azman added.
More than 50 family members and friends attended Putera's funeral wake at his family home in Yishun yesterday.
He was buried at about 4pm at Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery.
When approached by TNP after the funeral, his mother said she was not yet ready to speak about her son's death.