PONTIAN, Johor: The Singaporean pair who went missing for more than three days while hiking in Gunung Pulai forest reserve managed to survive by eating food they brought along for the hike and drinking river water, the doctor who treated them said on Thursday (Feb 8) afternoon.
The treating physician, who wanted to be known as Dr Ahmad, attended to Mr Dominick Tan and Ms Clarice Lum Jie when they arrived at Pontian Hospital shortly after they had been rescued earlier in the day.
Dr Ahmad said the pair told him they ate potato chips and nutrition bars while waiting for help.
He also examined the pair for dehydration, broken bones and malnutrition, but found no symptoms. They were discharged between 2.00pm and 2.30pm on Thursday afternoon.
Speaking to the media four hours after the duo were saved, a man who identified himself as Ms Lum’s uncle but declined to give his name said: “They were able to consume water from water bodies in the forest.”
Another family representative, who identified himself as Mr Tan’s father but who also would not give his name, told reporters that the pair had brought only enough food for a half-day hiking trip.
FAMILY MEMBERS EXPRESS GRATITUDE TO OFFICIALS, VOLUNTEERS
The two relatives also expressed appreciation for the help provided by Malaysian authorities and volunteers from both sides of the border.
Ms Lum’s uncle gave special thanks to Johor police chief Mohd Khalil Kader Mohd for approving the use of a helicopter to assist them with the search and rescue effort.
“Besides the Johor chief of police, we want to thank the Bomba, the Singapore consulate in Johor Baru ... everyone chipped in,” he said.
“Groups from both Malaysia and Singapore provided us with hospitality and assistance,” he added.
Mr Tan’s father added: ”Special thanks to the volunteers who came down without any form of personal (obligation).”
He also paid tribute to the media for creating awareness of the fact his relative was lost, prompting many others to volunteer their time to help search for the duo.
However when a reporter asked if the pair were a romantic couple, he retorted: “I think your question ... is not suitable. They are friends I can tell you that ... but I don't think we will entertain this type of question.”
On how they went missing in the first place, Ms Lum’s uncle said: ”Why (were they) lost? Nobody knows. If you know the answer to that, please let me know.”