The trio, Helmi Sadron, 28, Mohamad Sahibi, 58, and Ansar Kirinoh, 34, were in a boat which overturned in choppy waters off Pulau Banggi on Thursday.
Family members alerted the authorities after they failed to return to Kg Lagaton in Pitas district.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Sabah and Labuan director Laksamana Pertama Datuk Mohd Rosli Abdullah said the trio left their coastal village to go to Karakit town in Pulau Banggi to buy groceries at about 2.30pm on Thursday.He said after the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre Sabah was alerted at about 5.30pm on the same day, a search and rescue operation with two vessels from the Navy and marine police were deployed, along with other villagers in boats.
Rosli said villagers found the three men near Pulau Malawali in the neighbouring Kudat district at about 7am yesterday.
“All three were taken to Kg Narutnung and family members confirmed they were the three missing men,” he added.
He said the trio survived because they were wearing life jackets when their boat capsized.
“This is an important reminder for the maritime community to observe safety measures such as wearing life jackets when going out to sea,” he added
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