Rescued durian picker: I ate leaves and drank rainwater while waiting for help

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He was lost in the jungle at Tengah for four days after picking durians.

But nothing will stop Mr Low Ah Kay, 57, from continuing to look for the fruit he loves.

The retired taxi driver told The New Paper from his flat in Jurong yesterday: “After I recover from my injuries, I will go again during the durian season.”

Mr Low recounted how he ate leaves and drank rainwater during the four days that he sat in a ditch which he had fallen into, waiting for help to arrive.

“When I go in the forest, I usually sit down somewhere to wait for durians to fall from the trees and I pick them up,” he said.

“On that day, I found somewhere to sit and wait, but I fell into a ditch. I could not stand up so I just sat there.”

The father of four did not move from the spot for four days and was rescued last Monday at around noon in the forested area near Kranji Expressway.

He was hospitalised at Ng Teng Fong Hospital for a few days before being discharged. He is due to undergo physiotherapy for his muscles that were affected after his fall.

Investigation officers Inspector Jane Chen, 31, and Assistant Superintendent Melvin Seah, 31, who helped to find Mr Low, were concerned when they found out about his medical conditions.

Mr Low has mild dementia and recently suffered a stroke that left him unable to walk quickly.

ASP Seah said: “We knew he went durian picking so we tried to narrow down the possible areas he could be. On Saturday, our team split up and we searched in areas around Mandai, Tengah, Rifle Range Road and Bukit Batok Nature Reserve.”

At around 2pm on Sunday, Mr Low’s family informed the officers that his motorcycle, a red Honda Wave, had been found at the western end of Tengah forest.

At the time, the officers were conducting search operations at the eastern end of the forest.

Inspector Chen said: “After searching for so long, it was good to have some direction. We went to the site and the search fanned out from where the motorcycle was. Mr Low was found deep in the forest, near the durian trees but it was not in season so there were no fruits.”

Mr Low was partially concealed by foliage and was too weak to respond to his rescuers.

Insp Chen said: “His voice was barely audible but he managed to say his name.

“We also informed his daughters, who met us at the expressway.”

When Mr Low was brought out of the forest on a stretcher, he raised his hand to wave at his relatives.

He said: “When they found me, they knew who I was. I was just happy to be rescued.”

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 – 08:45

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