Tragedy Strikes in Lahad Datu: Three Drown in Maksina Valley Water Surge Incident


Search and Rescue Operation Concludes After Retrieving Bodies

Tragedy Strikes in Lahad Datu Three Drown in Maksina Valley Water Surge Incident
Tragedy Strikes in Lahad Datu Three Drown in Maksina Valley Water Surge Incident

In a devastating turn of events, a river hiking excursion at Maksina Valley in Makuau, Tungku, resulted in the drowning of three individuals, while 12 others narrowly escaped tragedy. The incident unfolded yesterday, casting a shadow over what was meant to be a day of adventure and exploration.

Details of the Incident

Authorities have confirmed that the ill-fated excursion involved a group of 15 individuals, comprised of four foreign guides and 11 oil palm factory workers. The group embarked on a river hiking activity in the picturesque valley, located approximately 100km from Lahad Datu town.

Initially reported as a group of 17, it was later clarified that 15 individuals were part of the expedition.

Tragedy struck when rising waters caused a surge, trapping three members of the group under a log. Among the victims were two trekkers and a river trail guide, whose bodies were recovered after an exhaustive search effort.

Lahad Datu fire station chief, Sumsoa Rashid, recounted the harrowing rescue mission. Despite the valiant efforts of rescue teams, three individuals remained missing after the first day of search and rescue operations.

Rescue Efforts and Investigation

A total of nine factory workers were rescued by firefighters, aided by information from the guides. The rescue operation, spanning over two days, concluded with the recovery of the bodies and the cessation of further search efforts.

In the aftermath of the tragedy, investigations revealed that the river hiking activity had not obtained proper permissions from relevant authorities. Authorities emphasized that such extreme activities require meticulous planning and adherence to safety protocols.

Lahad Datu district police chief, ACP Dzulbaharin Ismail, underscored the need for caution when engaging in water-related activities, particularly in remote and challenging terrains like Maksina Valley. He cautioned adventurers to heed weather warnings and abide by regulations to prevent similar incidents in the future.


As Lahad Datu mourns the loss of lives in this unfortunate incident, authorities stress the importance of responsible adventure tourism. The tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the dangers posed by unregulated activities in natural reserves.

While the search and rescue operation may have ended, the repercussions of this incident resonate deeply, prompting calls for stricter oversight and safety measures in outdoor recreational pursuits.


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