KOTA KINABALU: Rescuers involved in the search operation for five people still missing following the sinking of a catamaran on Jan 28 have found a life jacket in the waters off Brunei.
However, rescuers are not sure whether the life jacket, found on Tuesday evening, was from the Jan 28 tragedy involving 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan operations deputy director Captain Abdul Rahim Ramli said the agency needed to verify with the tour companies operating in the area to determine whether the life jacket found belonged to any of them.
The discovery of the life jacket brings the total to four life jackets found by the search and rescue team since the operation began.
The first three life jackets were found on Jan 31, Feb 1 and Feb 4.
Rahim, however, said that no parties have come forward to claim the discovered life jackets.
On the search operation, he said that there are still no signs of the five missing people - four Chinese tourists and another crewman.
“We are still continuing our search and rescue operation involving an area of 1,475 square nautical miles in the waters off Sabah, Miri (Sarawak) and Brunei,” he said.
Rahim also said that only five of the 20 rescued tourists remain warded at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital while eight have been discharged and are staying at hotels in the city.
Seven others have returned to China.
“The body of a victim was cremated a few days ago and the ash was flown back to the victim's hometown,” he said, adding that another body will be cremated on Feb 10.
The catamaran, carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crewman, sank while on its way to Pulau Mengalum on Jan 28.
Two crewmembers were rescued near Pulau Tiga the following day, while 23 tourists were found in the waters off Semarang. Three people were found to have died.
A fourth victim, a woman, was found on Saturday, bringing the total number of dead to four.
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