KOTA KINABALU: It has been an emotional roller coaster ride for the family of resort owner Tommy Lam. They had been bracing for the worst but eventually received the best news that he and three others were rescued after missing at sea for 10 days.
“We’re so happy and thankful that no one was left behind and all came home safely. The past 10 days have been difficult,” said Tommy’s brother James.
He was among the family members present to meet Tommy, Spaniards Martha Miguel and David Hernandez Gasulla and resort worker Armella Ali Hassan as they arrived at Kota Kinabalu International Airport.
He said his family was thankful to Maritime Malaysia, the navy and other authorities as well as Tommy’s friends who had helped in the search since they went missing near northern Pulau Balambangan on May 2.
Noting that his brother had been operating the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau resort for about six years, James said Tommy had always been a sea sports enthusiast.
“Now we will make sure he has all the necessary equipment such as global positioning system (GPS) on his boats before he goes out to sea again,” James said.
Tommy, a native of Hong Kong, has been living in Sabah for more than 20 years and is married to a Sabahan. They have two children aged seven and 10.
Friday was also a special day for Tommy as it was his 44th birthday.
Meanwhile, Martha’s uncle Miguel Reiz said their family and that of David’s had tried to remain optimistic after being told that the couple had gone missing.
“We were told that the area where they went missing was quite busy with fishermen and many boats passing there,” he said.
Miguel flew from Madrid to Sabah with Martha’s sister Laura, David’s mother Liz and brother Javier on May 2.
“There was a time when we were feeling low and we tried keeping our hopes up. We are so thankful they are all safe,” he added.
The families of the four were at the airport when the Maritime Malaysia Bombardier 415 aircraft that flew them from Layang-Layang touched down at 9.20am.
Martha was seen waving from a window of the aircraft as it taxied to a stop.
She, along with David and Tommy, waved and smiled as they disembarked from the aircraft.
Martha and David told their family members they were glad to have put their ordeal behind them.
“I’m alright, I’m alright,” David was overheard telling his brother Javier as he was placed on a stretcher.
However, Armella appeared frail and was immediately placed on a stretcher.
They were then whisked away to a private medical centre for a check-up.
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