MIRI: Five passengers have been rescued from the longboat that was involved in a mid-river collision with a timber vessel in the upper reaches of Ulu Baram, in interior northern Sarawak.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau, told The Star Online Monday morning that the latest information from the site of the tragedy near Long Panai settlement was that there were nine people on board the longboat that was heading from Long Terawan to Long Panai Sunday afternoon.
"Out of the nine people on board, three are confirmed to have been killed in the incident, one critically injured and the other five were rescued by people living along the river banks.
"The vessel that collided with the longboat belonged to a contractor working for the timber firm. It was said that the timber boat was not a barge but a fast-moving vessel, something that resembles a speedboat.
"The preliminary report said that the occupants on board the timber boat were Indonesian logging workers.
"The driver of that timber boat was also said to be Indonesian. Those on board the longboat were all locals," he said.
Ngau said the deceased were all related - siblings Celine Adries, 12, and Ethaniel Adries, 11, and their aunt Marie Lawing, 38.
Ethaniel was initially classified as missing, but on Monday, his status was classified as drowned and efforts were being undertaken to recover his body.
The bodies of Lawing and Celine were recovered from the river about 4pm Sunday, shortly after the incident.
Ngau said that Lawing was sending Celine and Ethaniel to the school for the start of the term Monday.
The critically-injured passenger was Margaret Dau, 36, who is a government clinic near the Mulu National Park.
The site of the incident is about seven hours from the nearest urban centre of Marudi town.