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6 Formed a Human Chain to Find a Teen. All Drowned

Firefighters were caught in an abandoned mining pool in Malaysia
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 4, 2018 10:00 AM CDT
Stock photo.   (Getty/BrianAJackson)

(Newser) – One tragedy in Malaysia has been compounded by an even greater one: Six rescuers drowned Wednesday night while trying to find a teen who'd fallen into an abandoned mining pool, reports the BBC. The firefighters had tied themselves together with a rope and formed a human chain as they searched the pool, but one of the men slipped and sent them all underwater, reports the New York Times. It appears they became trapped in whirlpool-like conditions. "Suddenly a strong current occurred in the area, causing all victims to spin in the water while all their equipment came off of them,” says a Malaysian rescue official.

The men were pulled unconscious from the water about 30 minutes later. (They are remembered here.) The water in the pool is typically chest high, reports the New Straits Times, but heavy rain may have caused a nearby floodwall to give in, making conditions far more dangerous. And because the men had been searching along the surface of the water, they weren't wearing scuba equipment. The body of missing 17-year-old Muhammad Ilham Fahmy Muhammad Azzam, who fell in while fishing with friends, was found Thursday, per the Straits Times. (Read more divers stories.)

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