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Published: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday December 10, 2013 MYT 6:53:39 AM

13 missing army personnel found

Located: Journalists taking photos of the army boat at Pantai Puteri in Malacca.

Located: Journalists taking photos of the army boat at Pantai Puteri in Malacca.

MALACCA: The 13 army personnel, who went missing for almost 28 hours after the boat they were travelling in was hit by a storm, have been found safe at Pantai Puteri here.

The state Fire and Rescue Department operation room issued an initial statement saying that the group, consisting of 11 personnel from the Special Warfare Training Centre (Pulpak) at the Sungai Udang camp and their two trainers, was found by villagers and members of the public at the beach at 1.19am yesterday.

Despite looking exhausted, they were reported to be in good condition and were unhurt. It is learnt that they were rushed to the Terendak army camp hospital in Sungai Udang for medical check-up.

A check at the beach showed that only a boat was left there with some mineral water bottles, shoes and a makeshift canoe stick.

The beach is about 8km from the Klebang beach where the army’s search and rescue operation centre was based.

It was reported on Sunday night that the personnel were part of a 46-member team that was participating in a Commando Training Programme involving five boats.

Earlier, Melaka Tengah OCPD Asst Comm Salehuddin Abd Rahman said the boats initially embarked from the Sungai Udang camp and were heading to Pulau Nangka and later Pulau Upeh when they were hit by the storm.

’’Only four boats made it to Pulau Upeh,’’ he told reporters on Sunday night.

A search-and-rescue operation was started on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur, a Defence Ministry spokesman clarified that those involved were 11 army personnel, who were undergoing rowing exercise as part of their basic commando training along with a coach and the boat driver.

He added that those involved were undergoing rowing training at Pulau Upeh waters in Malacca when they went missing.

He said the training started on Dec 7, involving 10 coaches and 35 trainees while utilising four boats.

It started at the Sungai Udang camp and all the way to Pulau Nangka, and was considered routine training.

On the night of the incident, the spokesman said a storm broke out near Pulau Upeh, causing three boats filled with trainees to almost sink.

“However, the army’s security boat personnel acted swiftly in saving the occupants of the boats. One boat was towed to Pantai Klebang while another to Pulau Upeh but the third boat went missing when the security boat came to tow it,” he said.

He added that the army mounted its own search-and-rescue operation and found the personnel near the Tanjung Bruas jetty at about 12.50am yesterday.

Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Idris Haron said the military team had used the same waterways for training purposes but they were unfortunately hit by adverse sea conditions.

Tags / Keywords: Transport & Safety, army, capsized, pantai puteri

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