CHUKAI (Bernama): The search and rescue (SAR) operation for Singaporean Tan Eng Soon, who went missing in a kayaking expedition last week, was focused on the waters between Kemaman and Merchang in Marang following the reported sighting of a body in Dungun waters Thursday (Aug 15).
Kemaman zone maritime director Maritime Commander Rashidilhadi Abd Rashid said according to a local fishermen’s WhatsApp group, the body, still strapped with a life jacket, was found 40 nautical miles from the search area.
"Unfortunately, the body was not tied or marked. For the time being, we are depending on this information to narrow down the search area,” he told reporters when met at the Kemaman Maritime Zone Jetty here Friday (Aug 16).
Tan, 62, and a woman also from Singapore, Puah Geok Tin, 57, were reported missing on Aug 8 after their kayak was separated from their group of friends between Pulau Sri Buat, Pahang and Pulau Mertang, Mersing due to rough sea and strong winds.
However, Puah's body was found on Wednesday (Aug 14) in the waters off Kuala Kemaman, following which a forward operation base was set up in Kemaman Thursday.
"Today's search involved six boats, four from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and one each from the Marine police and the Civil Defence Force.
"Although the weather today is better than yesterday, the current haze restricted the use of our assets. That is why the search involved maritime assets only, ” Rashidilhadi said in a briefing on the SAR operation, which entered its eighth day Friday.
He said the operation will be expanded to Kuala Terengganu on Saturday (Aug 17) since the remains could have been moved by strong currents.
Meanwhile, Tan’s eldest child, Liane Tan, 30, who arrived here Friday afternoon, hoped that there would be more leads on the whereabouts of her father.
"With the local fishermen’s support, we hope to be able to find more clues. That is all we hope for now,” she said when met at the Kemaman maritime zone jetty. - Bernama