Labuan Bank Officer Drowns After Being Trapped In Capsized Fishing Boat

Officers from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency carry the remains of the banker to bring it to the hospital. – Photo courtesy of MMEA Labuan

LABUAN: A local angler whose boat capsized shortly after he and a friend left on a fishing trip Friday, was found dead and trapped in the boat which was spotted at about 24.4 nautical miles off Tanjung Kubong Labuan at about 10.15am Sunday.

Sibaru Apui, 54, a Labuan Public Bank Hire Purchase Department assistant manager, went missing since late evening Friday (Oct 5), when the their 25-foot long boat capsized and was submerged at about 9pm the same day.

He was with his 50 year-old friend, Nasir Garar, when they set out to sea for fishing on Friday, but Nasir survived and was rescued by local fishermen at 5am on Saturday near the Semarang waters.

Both fishermen were wearing life jackets, when they left the capsized boat, and they also communicated with each other for about one hour, before they were separated by the rough waters caused by bad weather.

The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) immediately launched a search and rescue operation after receiving a police report on the missing angler at 7.25pm on Saturday.

His brother, Sigar Apui, 57, became worried about the whereabouts of Sibaru, as he was supposed to return from the fishing trip on Saturday afternoon.

Marine police found the deceased trapped underneath the capsized boat and MMEA personnel assisted in recovering the body and bringing it on board the patrol boat.

Friends and Public Bank clients spoke well of Sibaru and described him as a committed and kind-hearted bank officer who helped clients timelessly.

Sibaru’s next of kin has been notified and his body had been sent for post mortem.

According to an MMEA statement, both men were originally fishing in Semarang waters, a popular fishing spot with local anglers, when the incident took place.

MMEA Labuan chief Captain Maritime Che Adnan Md Isa said the incident was a ‘timely reminder’ for boat owners and fishing enthusiasts to act with caution when boating, as well as to check weather conditions and to bring along the required safety equipment.