SUNGAI PETANI: Six Royal Malaysian Air Force personnel from Butterworth were saved by fishermen after drifting for more than 24 hours in the sea in a rented boat, near here.
The men, aged between 36 and 43, who were on a fishing trip were spotted at about 8.30am yesterday, about 22 nautical miles off Yan coast (about 30km from here) by the fishermen who towed their boat back at about 4pm.
We panicked but we knew help would come as the spot where we were stranded is a popular spot for deepsea fishing, said one of the men.
He said they had set out for the fishing trip at about 6am on Sunday from the Dulang jetty in Yan and had travelled more than 20 nautical miles when their boat developed engine problems at about 3.30pm.
We tried to restart the engine but failed. We decided to wait for help but ended up spending the night in the sea, he said, adding that they survived on canned food, which they had brought with them.
He said they spotted three trawler boats at about 8.30am yesterday and asked for help, adding that one of the fishermen told them to wait until they finished fishing.
The fishermen towed us back at about 2pm and we reached the Dulang jetty at about 4pm,'' he said yesterday.
Yan OCPD Deputy Supt Che Omar Abuluddin said the RMAF personnel Mejar Theodore Mohan Kumar, 43, Kapten Iri Azman Abdul Malik , 26, Kapten Aris Ibrahim, 31, Sjn Anis Ibrahim, 34, Sjn Syed Alwi Syed Osman, 33, and Koperal Mohd Jambree Md Rejab were sent to Butterworth after a medical check-up at the Yan Hospital yesterday.
DSP Che Omar said the air force had lodged a missing persons report at Teluk Air Tawar police station in Butterworth.
He also said his men then helped the Butterworth police to locate the RMAF staff, adding that the airmen did not sustain any injuries.
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