KOTA KINABALU: A 56-year-old boatman has been arrested after a mid-sea head-on collision between two passenger speedboats in Pulau Gaya waters left three dead and six injured.
Kota Kinabalu city police acting chief Supt George Abdul Rakman said the skipper of one of the speedboats, which was without passengers, was arrested while the second skipper of a boat with nine passengers was injured following the crash in the waters off the city here.
He said the boatman surrendered himself to the police at Pulau Gaya a few hours after the sea accident that occurred at 12.30am yesterday just off the Filipino migrant settlement of Kampung Pondo in Pulau Gaya.
“It was dark when the two vessels collided just as the boat with nine people on board left the island for the Sabah Fish Marketing (Safma) jetty on the mainland.
“The other boat without passengers was returning to the island,” he said.
Supt George added that the three dead had yet to be positively identified.
Relatives and friends have, meanwhile, identified them as David Walling, 19, Betiran Lajabeti, 20, and the third victim as only Beloi, 15. All three died on the spot.
Following the accident, the six injured victims were rushed to the mainland by another passenger boat before being taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital here for treatment. They were aged between 14 and 38.
“Most of the victims were heading towards the Safma jetty area as they work there,” said Supt George.
The police are investigating the case under Section 280 of the Penal Code for rash navigation of a vessel as well as under Section 302 for culpable homicide.