SAR ops underway for fishermen feared drowned in Sandakan

KOTA KINABALU: A search and rescue operation is on for two fishermen feared drowned after their vessel capsized in waters off Kuala Meruap, Sandakan early Friday (Jan 15).

Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director for Sandakan, Capt Zainudin Mohd Zuki said prior to the 4am incident, four fishermen had gone out to sea before their vessel was struck by strong waves due to bad weather.

“The vessel capsized and two victims comprising Indonesian Adrian @ Agus Bahtuar, 45 and Filipino Oyong @ Herman, 35, were rescued by passing local fishermen at the area at about 6.30am,” he said.

Adrian and Oyong had managed to cling onto broken vessel parts and other floating debris following the incident before they were rescued by villagers.

Zainudin said two others - Andi Manso, 40, and Sindora, 42, both Indonesians, remain missing.

In another case involving five people, one out of three fishermen who had been missing since Jan 13 following a vessel capsize incident in Kinabatangan has been found drowned.

The victim’s body was discovered floating near Tambisan island by locals in the area at about 11.30am on Saturday (Jan 16).

“Our search and rescue operations are still ongoing but the bad weather bringing strong winds, waves and rains are making it difficult for us,” Zainudin said.

In this incident, it was reported that three crew members of a tugboat went missing after their vessel capsized in choppy waters off Sandakan in Sabah's east coast.

A crew member of the tugboat managed to save himself by swimming to a nearby coastline following the incident that occurred in waters around the Kuala Kinabatangan river mouth near Sandakan at about 4am.

Another crew member on the barge attached to the tugboat - Roslie Antala, 48 - was found safe along the coastline of Kinabatangan river mouth.

The barge had drifted off from the tugboat after its cable snapped.

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