Girl,7, kept trying to rouse dad who died in 20m fall, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Girl,7, kept trying to rouse dad who died in 20m fall

This article is more than 12 months old

Her father died attempting 
to save her, she kept trying to wake him

After trekking through the jungle to reach the scene of an accident, the fire department chief was met with a heart-rending sight.

Despite being hurt, a young girl sat next to the prone body of her father, weeping while trying to rouse him.

She cried out, "Daddy, daddy, I want my daddy" between sobs while shaking him with her tiny hands.

But there was no response.

Avid kayaker and outdoor lover David Cho, 47, was later pronounced dead, Kulai Fire and Rescue Department chief Mohd Khairi Zainuddin told The New Paper yesterday.

The Singaporean had been trekking with his wife, Madam Chua Soo Hoon, 46, and their daughter Rachael, seven, at the Gunung Pulai Recreational Forest near Kulai, about 40km from Johor Baru, on Sunday when the tragedy occurred.

Malaysian media reported that Mr Cho fell 20m from the top of a waterfall and hit his head on the rocks below trying to save Rachael, who had slipped.

In a statement yesterday, Madam Chua said that she and her husband had tried to grab Rachael after she slipped near the water, but all three slid down about 10m together. (See report on right.)

The Kulai Fire and Rescue Department received a call for assistance at 12.55pm, about five hours after the family had started their trek, reported The Star.

The family group included Madam Chua's sister, Ms Chua Mei Chin, 47, and niece Elizabeth Choo, seven.

Mr Khairi saidthat Rachael crying over her father was one of the saddest moments he had ever experienced.

"She was next to her father who was not responding to her cries," he said.

He said that Madam Chua, who had a broken nose and multiple cuts and bruises on her body, had walked to a small access road to get help.

"We found her on the road and she showed us where they were in the forest," said Mr Khairi.

"She wanted to follow us back, but I didn't let her."

When Mr Khairi and six of his men found Rachael with her aunt and cousin, she was inconsolable and visibly tired.


She did not seem aware of the 3cm gash on her forehead, nor the cuts and bruises on her arms and legs.

Feeling sorry for the child yet knowing he had a job to do, he slowly prised her hands from the body.


Mr Khairi then picked her up to carry her to safety.

He was exhausted from the trek to the accident site as he was fasting, but knew he had to press on for Rachael's sake.


"I carried her on my shoulders all the way," said the six-year veteran of the Fire and Rescue Department.

He had to wade through deep waters and climb over slippery rocks for 30 minutes to reach the ambulance.

"At its deepest, the water was about 1.5m," he said.

His men used the same route to carry Mr Cho's body out on a stretcher.

At the ambulance, paramedics confirmed that Mr Cho, who had a fractured skull, was dead.

Mr Khairi said that while the forest is popular with tourists and locals, not many people visit the waterfall.

"To my knowledge, only military personnel would go to the area," he said.

Madam Chua and Rachael were taken to Kulai Hospital and were later transferred to the National University Hospital in Singapore.

Mr Cho's body was collected by family members yesterday, Shin Min Daily News reported.

Madam Chua has been discharged, but Rachael remains warded in the intensive care unit.

Lianhe Wanbao reported that she underwent surgery yesterday because of swelling in her head.

She was next to her father who was not responding to her cries.

- Kulai Fire and Rescue Department chief Mohd Khairi Zainuddin