JOHOR BARU: The search for two Singaporeans who went missing kayaking in Endau waters around Mersing continues with the deployment of four additional aircraft.
Five aircraft are now involved in the search for Tan Eng Soon, 62, and Puah Geok Tin, 57, who went missing last Thursday.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Mersing Zone chief Maritime Commander Haris Fadzillah Abdullah said the assets deployed in the search and rescue (SAR) operation were two MMEA AW139 helicopters, an AW139 helicopter from the Fire and Rescue Department and an AW139 and Beechcraft plane belonging to the police.
“The search area with the air assets is being expanded to 900 square nautical miles encompassing the east and north of Pulau Tioman in Pahang, ” Haris told reporters at the Penyabong passenger jetty in Endau near here yesterday.
He said besides the air assets, seven sea assets had also been sent out to join the search, which entered its fourth day yesterday.
They are the Royal Malaysian Navy vessel KD Handalan, the MMEA vessel KM Niah and boats Penggalang 19, Pengawal 32 and Kilat 14, as well as the police’s Marine Operations Force’s PAC 28 and PC 31.
The sea search, Hariz said, was being expanded to 600 square nautical miles, covering the east of Rompin to the north of Tioman Island.
He added that the number of SAR personnel had been increased to 104 as compared to 50 on Sunday.
“So far, we have not found any leads and are still hoping to find them.
“That is why the SAR has been scaled up, ” said Haris, adding that the unpredictable weather and southwest monsoon winds were their biggest challenge.
The Singaporeans were reported missing at about 5.40pm last Thursday after their kayak was separated from a group of 13 friends in an area between Pulau Sri Buat in Pahang and Pulau Mertang in Mersing.
They reportedly became separated from the group due to rough sea and strong winds. — Bernama