Thursday, 19 June 2014

Nine bodies found, 27 still missing in Carey Island boat tragedy

A search and rescue team recovered nine bodies that were believed to have drowned while another 27 are still missing when a boat carrying 97 passengers, believed to be Indonesians, capsized about two nautical miles from Sungai Air Hitam, near Carey Island, here.

As of 7pm, 61 passengers have been rescued.

Selangor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Sani Harul said the nine bodies comprised seven men and two women.

"Their bodies were found floating near the shores while 61 others were rescued. The search and rescue operation will continue, since another 27 have not been accounted for.

"The number may be more or less because there is no record of those on the boat," he told reporters here today adding that the search area had been extended to about five kilometres from the shores of Pantai Sungai Air Hitam.

"The search and rescue operation will continue throughout the night if the weather permits," he said.

Sani said 160 personnel, a helicopter from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and another from the Royal Malaysian Police were involved in the search and rescue operation.

"The search and rescue operation also involves seven fishing boats, five from MMEA, three from the Malaysian Civil Defence Department, three from the Fire and Rescue Department and one from the Marine Police," he said.

The boat carrying 97 passengers was believed to have left the Sungai Judah jetty in Carey Island at about 11pm and capsized about an hour later.

MERS 999 received a distress call at 12.20am and by 3.20am, the Customs at the Jetty Restoran Viking, Jugra found 31 victims and taken in for investigations.

At 10.30am, another 30 were found at Ladang West, Carey Island while the first body was spotted near a dredging vessel in Sungai Langat at 10.55am before another two bodies were found at 2.15pm near Tanjung Rhu and Carey Island.

At 3pm, the fourth body was found in the Carey Island waters while two more bodies were found 10 minutes later near Air Hitam and two hours later another body was found in Tanjung Rhu waters.

Sani said at 6pm another body was found in Tanjung Rhu while the ninth body was found at 6.20pm at Pantai Bangkong, Carey Island.

Meanwhile, Selangor Police Chief Datuk Abdul Samah Mat said the boat capsized because it was overloaded.

"The boat which can only ferry 40 passengers had cramped in 97 passengers and headed to Tanjung Balai, Sumatera," he said.

Police will carry out a thorough investigation because it involved elements of human trafficking, he said.

Thursday 19 June 2014


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