SANDAKAN: A General Operations Force (PGA) personnel member went missing after a passenger boat with 37 people, including 28 students, was involved in a crash with a boat being towed by a fishing trawler, leaving 14 people injured.
A search-and-rescue operation is continuing for the policeman, Corporal Osman Ongkal, in waters just off the Sandakan market in the wake of the accident at 5.40am on Thursday (Feb 13).
It was learned that 15 of the victims had been taken to the Duchess Of Kent hospital for treatment, while 19 others, who suffered light injuries, were treated at the market itself by paramedics.
Of the 15 at the hospital, the boat skipper and two other persons were reported to be in critical condition and while the remaining 12 are in stable condition.
The passenger boat was reportedly heading from Kg Tanjung Aru to a school in Sandakan town when it collided with the other vessel that was coming into the market jetty.
Three victims were immediately rescued and sent to the hospital, while the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and marine police boats, as well as passing fishing boats, came to the rescue of the other victims.
Fire and Rescue Department and People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela) also joined in the search for Cpl Osman, who was on the boat and helping to rescue a few people before he went missing.
A spokesman for the MMEA in Sandakan Lt Comm Mohd Hafidz Mohd Tajuddin said the search also involved 15 fishing boats.
The search is being conducted around a two-nautical-mile area off the Sandakan market.