By THE BORNEOTODAY TEAM
KOTA KINABALU – Standing quietly outside the gates of the Marine Police jetty here early Monday morning was a group of six people, including a young woman with swollen red eyes.
Amelia Samanai from Pulau Gaya has not stopped crying since she was informed by a workmate of her husband that he was missing at sea, along with five tourists from China.
Her plight is understandable as she married Abshoi bin Kassim some nine months ago, while the missing youngster only started working with the tour agency whose catamaran capsized near Pulau Tiga on Saturday, two months ago.
While local, national and even foreign media were concentrating on the VIPs to get information from them, this group went meekly to a marine police guard to make enquiries.
They were told to come back later in the morning.
However, BorneoToday and reporters from two mainstream media caught up with the group as they were leaving and asked if they were somehow involved in the catamaran tragedy which has killed three China tourists so far.
A man who was later learnt to be Kassim, the father of Abshoi, said they were hoping to get more information about his missing son.
But Kassim walked away soon after as he could not hold back his tears.
It was a younger sister of Abshoi who said that they were only informed of the incident by Amelia after she was told by a workmate of her husband that he was missing at sea.
“We all knew that he was headed for Mengalum on Saturday but we never realised that something bad would happen,” said the sister.
“We can only pray that he is still alive. He is a good swimmer and that would be an asset in this situation.”
The family from Kudat had moved down to the state capital three years ago for greener pastures, with Abshoi the eldest among seven siblings.
It is believed that Abshoi had tied himself together with the other tourists when the boat capsized on Saturday.
It is a common practise among sailors so that they would not drift apart.
Of the 31 that sailed off for Mengalum in the catamaran on Saturday, six are still missing while three have been officially announced as drowned before they could be rescued.