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Boy who survived Christmas crash still asking for family, says aunt

SINGAPORE — It was the first day of their one-week week vacation for a family that enjoyed road trips, but it ended in tragedy.

Mr Darius Liew and Ms Ng Khai Hiang speaking to the media at the wake in Sin Ming on Dec 27, 2015. Photo: Angela Teng

Mr Darius Liew and Ms Ng Khai Hiang speaking to the media at the wake in Sin Ming on Dec 27, 2015. Photo: Angela Teng

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SINGAPORE — It was the first day of a one-week vacation for a family that enjoyed road trips, but it ended in tragedy.

Ng Khai Leng, 39; her husband Barnabas Lim Ah Huat, 45, and elder son Rayshon Barnabas Lim, 6, died in a car crash near Mersing, Malaysia, on Christmas morning when their Land Rover collided with another car, driven by a Malaysian woman who also died. Their younger son, Evan Barnabas Lim, aged 3, was the sole survivor. 

The boy was saved by passing motorists, including Malaysian Yang Yuhua, who helped extract him from the burning car. Evan, who suffered serious burns, was taken to Malaysian hospitals before being brought back to a Singapore hospital.

Speaking to the media at the wake in Sin Ming today (Dec 27), Evan’s aunt, Ms Ng Khai Hiang, 36, said her sister’s family was a close-knit one, and would often go out together and enjoyed road trips.

“My sister will always organise activities that were kid-oriented … whenever they had (holiday) gaps or weekends, there will always be activities for the kids. They were supposed to be going for a week or so, and we knew that they were going on the trip,” said Ms Ng, who spoke in a sombre tone and looked calm.

Her husband Darius Liew said the family had seen photographs of Evan circulating online, posted by witnesses to the accident who were trying to locate his next-of-kin. 

In the immediate hours after the accident, the Malaysian authorities had been unable to identify the casualties as their personal documents had been destroyed in the fire resulting from the crash, reported Malaysian media. Around the time the family saw the photos, they were contacted by Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). 

“The incident was sudden … When we found out about it, we hoped it was not true and we needed to verify if it was really them … the key objective for the last two days was to bring Evan (and the family) back to Singapore,” said Mr Liew, 36. The MFA had helped, he added, thanking the ministry for its assistance. 

Ms Ng said Evan, who is in a stable condition and recovering well in hospital, is still unaware of what has happened and has been asking for his parents and his brother. The family is discussing how to tell the boy what happened. After he has been discharged, Evan will live with his grandparents, said Ms Ng. 

The late Ms Ng was a real estate property agent, while her husband was in the car-polishing business and a car lover. 

The couple had first met at New Creation Church. Their late son, Rayshon, was preparing to enrol into Primary One next year.

Their bodies were brought back to Singapore on Saturday. 

The family also expressed appreciation for the support they have received from the church and their friends on preparations for the wake, which will be held until Tuesday afternoon.

The deceased Malaysian was identified by Bernama as Noor Haryanti Safiai, 30, a technician. She was buried in Kota Tinggi on Friday evening.

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