Boat Capsize Tragedy: Probe Papers Completed, Survivors To Go Back To China

Ramli DIn
Ramli Din

By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – Sabah police commissioner, Datuk Ramli Din on Monday said the investigation papers on the catamaran capsize tragedy in Sabah waters on Jan 28 have been completed.

He said they had recorded statements from all those involved in the incident, including 20 tourists from China as well as eye-witnesses.

“The investigation papers have been completed and some of the 20 Chinese tourists have gone back to their country while some others are still in Sabah,” he told reporters.

In the incident, the catamaran was carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crew members when it capsized, believed to be due to strong wind and turbulent waves while on its way to Pulau Mangalum.

Wednesday's search and rescue positions.
Wednesday’s search and rescue positions.

So far, 26 victims have been found including four who died and the search-and-rescue operation for the other five victims continued today, the 12th day.

Meanwhile search-and-rescue (SAR) personnel have found a life jacket floating in Brunei waters on Tuesday.

The orange life jacket with ‘SJN00658F’ written with blue marker pen was found by passing vessel, KDB Darulaman, at 3.02pm.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan deputy director (operation) Captain Rahim Ramli, however, said they could not ascertain whether the jacket is related to the capsized catamaran incident off Pulau Mangalum on Jan 28.

“The jacket was found about 2.6 nautical miles to the west from Maharaja Lela Oil Rig in Brunei, and 80 nautical miles southwest from the last known position of the fatal incident.

“KDB Darulaman sent a photo image of the jacket to us and we have handed the information for police to investigate further,” he told the media during a briefing at the MMEA operations centre in Likas near here.

Pang Yuk Min, right, at the KKIA departure hall having a word with three of the surviving China tourists who departed Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday. - Photo credit PDRM Kota Kinabalu
Pang Yuk Min, right, at the KKIA departure hall having a word with three of the surviving China tourists who departed Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday. – Photo credit PDRM Kota Kinabalu

Meanwhile, Rahim added that five survivors were still being treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, eight has been discharged, while seven tourists has flown back to China, including the remains of one of the deceased.

When met at a separate function, State Tourism, Culture and Environment assistant minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said most of the tourists who survived are expected to return to China by Friday.

He said only 13 of them are still in Sabah as seven had returned as of Tuesday. He said one or two of them may remain here longer to sort things out with their travel agents.

As of now, five tourists are still treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.