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Friday, February 10, 2017

Tawau boat capsize: Another body found bringing to seven so far

KOTA KINABALU - The body of another victim from the boat that capsized in Tawau waters was recovered by the Search and Rescue (SAR) team today, bringing the total number of victims so far to seven.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan regional director First Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som said the body of Azlan Moja, in his 30s, was found at 5.48pm about 1.9 nautical miles northwest of Kampung Titingan, Tawau.

“With this (recovery), there are four more individuals who are still missing, including two children, while four others have been found safe,” he told reporters here today.

He said the seven victims who perished in the tragedy have been identified as Handra Hadda, 40; Taqi Muhd Zaki, seven; Mohd Faiz, four; Nurhafiza, two; Azlan, Nasir Selasa (ages not available) and Muhd Asraf (nine months).

Mohd Zubil said the SAR operation for the other four victims who are still missing will be continued today over a search area of 68 square nautical miles in the waters off Tawau.

On Tuesday, a speedboat carrying 15 Indonesians, including the skipper, capsized when it was believed to have been hit by strong waves about five to 10 minutes after it departed the Tinagat Batu Payung jetty in Tawau.

The boat began its journey at 5.30pm to Sungai Nyamuk in Indonesia.

Mohd Zubil also said the SAR operation for five victims still missing after a catamaran capsized in the waters off Pulau Mengalum on Jan 28 will continue today, its 14th day.

“The SAR operations today involve 300 people with eight assets including seven ships and boats, and one aircraft. The operations will still cover 300 square nautical miles off Kota Kinabalu,” he said.

In the tragedy on Jan 28, a catamaran carrying 28 tourists from China and three crew members was believed to have capsized amidst strong winds and huge waves while heading to Pulau Mengalum.

So far, 26 victims have been found, including four who died.

Mohd Zubil said to date, the MMEA had not received any instructions to end the SAR mission.

“We will continue the operations until there is an instruction to stop it,” he said.

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