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Tuesday, 26 February 2008

NST: UiTM student survives 19-day Tahan ordeal

KUANTAN, Tues: It was a miraculous survival story for Nor Umaisarah Sameaun who was found on Monday, 19 days after she went missing in Gunung Tahan. The 21-year-old Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) Arau branch student was left behind by her expedition group on Feb 7 and she had to wander alone in the thick jungle.

Nor Umaisarah said she was enjoying the scenery not far from the Bukit Botak camping site when the whole group packed up and left without her.

"I shouted for help but no one could hear me. I didn't even know how to go back to the camping site as the surrounding look almost the same," she said when met at the Tengku Ampuan Afzan Hospital today.

Sultan Ahmad Shah had earlier visited Nor Umaisarah, who was was airlifted from Jerantut at about 9.30am.

"I only had a pack of chocolate sticks with me which I finished on the first day itself," said Nor Umaisarah who survived only on river water.

To compound her sufferings, she sprained her ankle while walking along the river bank and had to take a rest for four days. While she continued her descend, she also slipped into the river and almost drowned.

"I lost my shoes, tudung and spectacles. I almost gave up and took a rest for another five days," said the eldest sister of three siblings.

With bruises and a sprained ankle, she continued her journey and prayed that someone would find her.

"I was so happy when I found two backpacks near the river. I shouted for help and three people came towards me," said Nor Umaisarah, who was saved by two Russian tourists and a local guide.

She said she was lucky as she did not come across any wild animals or scary beings throughout her ordeal.

Her father, Sameaun Hassan, said he was grateful that Nor Umaisarah was found.

"I could not sleep as I was afraid of what would happen to her. But deep in my heart I knew that she is a strong girl," said the 45-year-old fishmonger in Johor Baru.

Sultan Ahmad Shah said it was unfortunate that the incident had occurred although he had repeatedly reminded hikers and expedition members to follow the guidelines provided by the authorities.

"Our jungle is not a place where we can take things for granted. We have to be cautious at all times and must inform the authorities of our trips," he said.


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