Dalit Beach, the Killer Beach in Tuaran

Guess you all had heard the drowning tragedies below happened in Pantai Dalit (Dalit Beach):
On 22 Aug 2006, four secondary school students of SMK Sanzac drowned. Two months later (on 25 Oct), 3 more children suffered the same fate.

Dalit Beach, Sabah, Malaysia

After the incidents, the local authority has put up two warning notices for swimmers. The best solution seems to be “Don’t Swim!” Whenever such tragedy happens, many will scare themselves with “Water ghost looks for replacement” bull shit. A maritime researcher has the answer, the victims were dragged away by the Rip Current:

“Rip tides are currents flowing away from the shore, and are very powerful… it can drag you away even if you are a strong swimmer…” said Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS) Maritime Institute deputy director Dr Shahbuddin Saad.

Watch the video below. You will be shocked to know that how easy you can fall victim to Rip Current. The video also teaches you how to escape:

The sea of Pantai Dalit looks so calm, besides locals, there are many tourists from Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort doing watersport, horse riding, etc. on that beach. Hard to believe that it kills.
Dalit Beach, Sabah, Malaysia

Pantai Dalit, Tuaran

According to the survivors, they were swimming at the waist or chest-level deep water, and suddenly a big wave came and swept them away. But one thing I would like to point out is – most people underestimate the power of water. All rescue experts know that water level up to knee is enough to wash us away, if the current is strong enough. When we truly feel the enormous power of water, it is usually too late.

Pantai Dalit, Tuaran

Tour package to Kinabatangan

Driven by curiosity, I decided to see what makes this beach so different. I only noticed that the seabed was not even, so the waves reach the shore at different speed and duration. I was there during high tide, where the sea water started rising. I will come back again during low tide, when the beach exposes more of its underlying structure.

Dalit Beach, Sabah, Malaysia

Dalit Beach looks calm. Its water is so inviting that youngsters ignore the warning signboard.

Pantai Dalit, Tuaran

Later I checked out the bird view of Dalit Beach through Google map. Interestingly, there is a big river mouth near the beach. is it responsible for the strong rip current?
Dalit Beach, Sabah, Malaysia

When I zoomed in further, I found something weird (pointed by red arrow in picture above). There is a huge spiral-like wave, about 0.5 km across, in the sea of Pantai Dalit. You may click the picture below to zoom in for closer look.
Pantai Dalit, Tuaran

You may look at the map yourselves:

View Larger Map

I suspect the murky river carries large amount of sediment that builds up sand bars under the sea at Dalit Beach. And this uneven underwater terrain is the key recipe for a deadly Rip Current. Do you agree with me?


21 Jun 2010: A father and son, from Kg Tambalungon in Tuaran, were swept away by strong currents and drowned while trying to save their 17-year-old family member on Father’s Day.

7 Jan 2013: two youths, both aged 20, from Kampung Telipok, Tuaran, were being swept away by strong currents. (reported as Missing)

Photos taken in Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

3 thoughts on “Dalit Beach, the Killer Beach in Tuaran

  1. To tell u the truth…since i born i live at tuaran and dalit beach really ate sooooooo many pple already…just recent yrs they will publish on national tv..last time only can see in newspaper or told by the local pple…

    it was more then 15 yrs since i go to bath in dalit beach..we all more prefer the sabadar beach…but now no body want to go to seaside cos tsunami waaaaa…

  2. Dalit was my childhood playground. We used to fish there with gill nets on the beach and lines at the rocks. We lost a couple of nets to strong currents. Once we laid the net near where the Rasa Ria is now, and in a moment it was gone…we found it next morning half buried at the Mangabong estuary. A lesser swimmer could have been in big trouble…….The best moments was watching a couple of giant hammerhead sharks frolicking on the water surface….we were sitting high on the rocks by the hill overlooking the bay. I swear they must have a 5-6 foot span between the eyes….extraordinary sights in the rays of the setting sun….Beautiful place with beautiful memories for me…until Dr. M visited the place and sold it to resort hotel….

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