Multiple specialised units from the Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department were deployed to assist in the search for Irish-French teenager Nora Quoirin last year, the inquest into her death has been told.
The department's operations commander Ahmad Mukhlis Mukhtar, the 24th witness to appear before Coroner Maimoonah Aid, said yesterday that four specialised units were deployed a day after the schoolgirl was reported missing on August 4, 2019.
Nora, whose mum Meabh is from Belfast, disappeared from her family's cottage at The Dusun eco-resort in southern Negeri Sembilan state, sparking a massive 10-day hunt involving helicopters, search dogs and hundreds of searchers.
The 15-year-old went missing a day after she and her family arrived for a two-week holiday at the resort, about 40 miles south of Kuala Lumpur.
Her body was found near a creek in a ravine on August 13.
"Among the specialised assets deployed were the Water Rescue Unit (PPDA), Multi-Skill Team (MUST), K-9 Detection Unit and the Special Tactical Operation and Rescue Team of Malaysia (STORM) aimed at assisting in the search operation," Mukhtar told yesterday's hearing.
He added that, for example, the department received an application from the police to deploy their PPDA divers specialised in water rescue to address the likelihood of drowning and another application for the use of cadaver dogs to seekw out a body at a specific area.
On designated search areas, Mukhlis said rescue personnel had entered the area where Nora's body was eventually found days after she went missing as early as August 5 last.
"That area where the body was eventually found, our personnel had actually entered but could not find any traces of the girl then as informed to me by my officers on the ground," he said, adding that the area was also included in their large-scale search-and-rescue operation over the following days.
Mukhlis said he was not directly involved in the operation but merely coordinated and arranged the department's asset for deployment.
Despite the multiple specialised assets and resources deployed on the ground, Mukhlis said it was unfortunate there were no positive results throughout their 10-day search operation.
MUST personnel Hizwan Khalil also testified that he was one of the personnel who had entered the area on August 5 where Nora's body was eventually found.
Hizwan said there was no positive indication of the missing girl at the time of their search.
Preliminary surgical reports have stated there was no criminal element to Nora's death and that it was caused by gastrointestinal bleeding due to prolonged hunger and stress.
Officers say she was able to leave the resort by herself via a window which had a faulty latch.
Her parents, Sebastien and Meabh, are not present at the inquest due to Covid-19 restrictions but will take part via Zoom.
The couple remain convinced that their daughter, who was vulnerable, had special needs and would not go outside her own front door alone, and could not have reached the spot where her body was eventually found.
The hearing continues.