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Monday, February 6, 2017

Discovery of life jacket provides new clue in search of missing six

KOTA KINABALU - The discovery of an orange life jacket has provided a new clue for the search and rescue (SAR) teams looking for the six victims still missing in the catamaran tragedy in Pulau Mengalum waters on Jan 18.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Kota Kinabalu director, First Admiral Adam Aziz said the SAR team from MMEA’s ship ‘Bangi’ found the jacket at 4.48pm on Saturday.

“The life jacket was found about 30 nautical miles southwest of where the catamaran capsized and sank and 25 nautical miles southwest of Pulau Mengalum.

“It was orange in colour with the word ‘Marina’ written on it with a marker pen,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

Adam said the life jacket will be handed over to the police for further investigation, and shown to the tour boat’s owner for identification purposes.

Commenting on the woman’s body found entangled in the fishing nets on Saturday, Adam said the body had yet to be identified and that the post-mortem and identification process was still underway.

According to him, the family members of victims still missing who were at the Queen Elizabeth I Hospital here were unable to identify the body due to its decomposed state. “So a DNA test will be performed. Results of the identification will be given after the completion of the post-mortem report,” he said.

On Saturday, local fishermen found the body of a woman, in a red blouse and black slacks, caught in their nets in the waters between Pulau Mengalum and Pulau Tiga at 9.25am.

The body was found eight nautical miles southwest of Pulau Mengalum and 13 nautical miles northeast of where the boat had capsized and 20 nautical miles northwest of Pulau Tiga.

On the SAR operation entering its ninth day yesterday, Adam said the search for the missing victims continues involving an area of 2,000 square nautical miles, focusing on the location where the body was found.

The search involving Sabah waters and waters off Miri, Sarawak, as well as Brunei are also being covered using 15 assets, 11 ships and boats and four aircraft.

Adam said about 50 fishing boats from the fishermen’s associations in Kota Kinabalu, Kudat and Labuan had also joined in the operation by installing trawl nets in the search sector.

In the 10am tragedy on Saturday, a catamaran carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crew members, is believed to have sank after being battered by heavy waves and high winds during a trip to Pulau Mengalum.

So far, 25 victims have been found, including three dead. – Bernama

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