TAWAU – Police have confirmed that six bodies believed to be victims of a speedboat that capsized in the waters of Batu Payung, near here, on Tuesday, have been found by rescuers scouring the seas for possible survivors.
Tawau district police chief, Assistant Commissioner Fadil Marsus said the six bodies were found by Indonesian authorities in the Sebatik waters, Sungai Taiwan area, Indonesia and around the Karang Unarang waters.
“According to information from the Indonesian Consulate here, the bodies found were that of an adult man, two women including one who was pregnant, and three male children.
“All the six bodies were taken to Nunukan by the Indonesian authorities,” he told reporters, here, Thursday.
Fadil said the Malaysian and Indonesian authorities, meanwhile, were still trying to locate the seven other boat passengers missing, which include a baby as well as another child.
On Tuesday, a speedboat carrying 15 Indonesian nationals including the skipper, capsized, believed to be hit by turbulent waves about five to minutes after leaving from the Tinagat Batu Payung jetty at 5.30pm for Sungai Nyamuk, Indonesia.
Two of them managed to swim to safety to Batu Payung beach and alerted the authorities who then started the search and rescue.
Budiman Muslimin, 26, and his wife Hasmida Masaniaga, 24, were found clinging on to a single life jacket by a villager off the coast of Pantai Batu Payung at about 6.30pm on Wednesday.
The villager, Safar Sehan alerted the authorities who launched a search for the remaining 13 people still missing from the boat which had departed illegally from Tawau.
As the boat was illegal, it was only after the discovery of the couple did the authorities became aware of the incident.
ACP Fadil said the search involved personnel and boats from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, marine police and firemen.
It was the second boat sinking incident in two weeks in Sabah.
On Jan 28, a boat with 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, capsized on its way to Pulau Mengalum from Kota Kinabalu.
Two crewmen and 20 tourists were rescued while four died while a search continues for five more missing.