IT was supposed to be a relaxing outing for the swimmers at Sekayu Waterfalls, but disaster struck when a strong gush of water swept them away.
Three people, including a woman, drowned in the freak accident which the police had called a 'mini tsunami'.
Seven others suffered light injuries, the New Straits Times reported.
Assistant Superintendent Shamsudin Yaacob, the acting district police chief, said the victims were swimming at the popular recreational spot in Terengganu when the accident happened on Thursday afternoon.
It is believed that the sudden gush of water was caused by rain further uphill a few days ago.
One of the survivors, Mr Azil Hizal, said he was in the water for barely five minutes when a huge wave struck him.
'I panicked, but managed to recite a quick prayer. I grabbed my son, Eizzedin, and placed him on my shoulder and held the hand of my wife, Nor Azliana and brought them to safety.
'I saw my brother-in-law (Mokhtaza) try to rescue his two siblings (Sakina and Noraina Najmi), but he failed to hold onto Sakina, who was swept away by the strong currents.'
Besides Ms Sakina Mustaffa, 25, the two who died were Tuan Basri Tuan Yusof, 23, and Mr Mohd Shukri Mamat, 27.
The survivors - five from Ms Sakina's family and two men - were given outpatient treatment at the hospital here.
Ms Sakina's body was the first to be found, an hour after the 1.40pm incident. It was recovered from the banks of Sungai Sekayu about 2km from the scene of the incident.
The other two bodies were recovered in the evening.
Mr Shamsudin has asked visitors to the waterfalls to be careful during the rainy season as such phenomenon tends to occur.