KOTA KINABALU: The first group of survivors of a catamaran which capsized while on its way to Pulau Mengalum arrived here early Monday.
The 20 survivors arrived on a fishing boat which was escorted by a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessel and a marine police boat.
The bodies of three people who perished in the tragedy were also on board the fishing boat.
It could not be ascertained if a crew member of the catamaran was among the 20 survivors or the three dead.
The two-tier fishing vessel docked at the Kota Kinabalu Marine Police jetty at about 1.45am.
Also present at the jetty were Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Dr Shahidan Kassim, Sabah Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Datuk Pang Yuk Ming, MMEA Director-General Admiral Maritime Datuk Seri Ahmad Puzi Ab Kahar, China's Consul-General in Sabah Chen Peijie, and Sabah Tourism Board chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.
Police and a medical team rushed to receive the victims, who were then given medical attention on the jetty before they were sent to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here.
The survivors who were able to walk were escorted into two vans, while the rest were taken by ambulance.
"We will make sure they receive the best attention and give them time to recuperate from their ordeal before the police record their testimonies on the incident," Shahidan said when met.
The boat ferrying three crew members and 28 tourists from China was believed to have capsized due to strong winds and large waves at around 10am on Saturday, an hour after it left Tanjung Aru jetty for Pulau Mengalum, a tourist attraction about 56km northwest of Kota Kinabalu.
Two crew members of the boat were rescued at 2pm on Sunday near Pulau Tiga, which is about 53km away from Pulau Mengalum, and 50km from Tanjung Aru jetty.
At about 6pm, police received information that 20 of the victims of the capsized vessel had been rescued by a fishing boat.
Three were found dead while six others are still missing. - Bernama