GEORGE TOWN: They caught enough fish for a feast. But all the ice they had melted after being stranded at sea for over 24 hours and their prized catches went bad.
All that was left of their adventure were impressive photos of them holding large trevally, snappers and queenfish caught using a fishing technique called jigging.
“But we praise Allah for being given a second chance to live,” wrote Mohd Faiz Ibrahim, 30, on Facebook when he shared those photos on Monday night.
He was one of the five anglers and a skipper whose day at sea was spoiled by plain bad luck.
Skipper Mohd Khairul Anuar Mohd Salleh, 30, said his boat’s propeller snagged a length of discarded anchor rope, jamming it instantly and causing the internal mechanism of the engine’s gearbox to break.
“Around 6pm on Sunday, we were about to make our way back when we hit the rope.
“We dropped anchor but at around 4am, the sea was so rough that our anchor was lifted off the seabed and we began to drift,” he recalled after being rescued and brought back to Penang island.
He said it was a blessing that a fisherman saw them at around 4.35pm on Monday, about 20 nautical miles (37km) off Pulau Kendi and five nautical miles (9.3km) from their original position.
“We kept screaming and calling out for help but were ignored by all other boats,” he said.
He said they only had enough food and water for a day trip, and so they rationed them, just in case they would be adrift for more than a day.
The other anglers on the boat were Mohd Rajis Ismail, 35, Mohd Azmil Abdul Rahman, 31, Khairil Hafidzi Tajuddin, 31, and Lee Chee Sen, 49.
Their family members and friends waited at Batu Maung jetty for over three hours on Monday night and whooped for joy when they were safely towed back by the rescue team from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) at 10.10pm.
Also present were Batu Maung assemblyman and state exco member Datuk Abdul Halim Hussain and Batu Uban assemblyman A. Kumaresan.
In a press conference earlier, MMEA Capt Hamizan Harun said besides two boats, rescuers also deployed a helicopter for the search and rescue.
Other anglers and fishermen off Penang waters have not been so lucky.
In September 2017, a fisherman who went out alone was believed to have fallen off his boat in rough waters. His body was found floating 3km from Pulau Kendi 22 hours later.
The same fate befell another fisherman in December 2016 and his body was found 2km from Pulau Kendi about two hours after he went missing.
In December 2015, two anglers left adrift after having engine trouble were rescued 19 hours later in Perak waters.