JOHOR BARU, 28 April 2009: Nine people, six of them Pakistan nationals, drowned while a boy was rescued after a boat carrying them capsized in waters off Teluk Ramunia near here early today.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Southern Region Enforcement Chief First Admiral (Maritime) Che Hassan Jusoh said the MMEA was notified at about 9am of the incident at 3.2 nautical miles south of Teluk Ramunia waters.
“Acting on the information, the MMEA sent two speedboats to the area, also to assist two speedboats of the Marine Operations Force,” he said in a statement.
Che Hassan said that based on preliminary information, a commercial vessel, Atago, had found the body of a boy at 4.40am in Pengerang waters.
He also said that another commercial vessel, Restore, found the body of a woman and rescued a boy in the same waters at 7.55am.
He said the Singapore coastguard found the body of a man at about 10am in Singapore waters while the MMEA recovered the bodies of two men and the body of a girl at 1.4 nautical miles southeast of Tanjung Ayam in Teluk Ramunia waters.
“The body of a man and that of a woman were found by the Marine Operations Force at 1.20pm in Pulau Lima waters while the body of another man was found at about 3pm in the same area,” he said.
Che Hassan said the MMEA had yet to identify the dead and ascertain the cause of the accident while the rescued boy was in a weak state.
He said the boy had been sent to the Kota Tinggi Hospital. The boy had informed the authorities that those who died were members of his family.
He also said that all the bodies had been brought to the Sultan Ismail Hospital and that the search-and-rescue operation was terminated at 6pm.
In KUALA LUMPUR, the Pakistan High Commission said in a statement the members of the Pakistan family who drowned were from Quetta, Pakistan, and identified them as Zainab, Zulqarnain, Sidiqqa, Hameed, Qasim Ali and Jumah Khan.
It said the only survivor was Aqeel Qirkeel, a 14-year-old boy from the same family.
They were travelling from the south of Johor to Teluk Ramunia on an excursion trip in a small overloaded boat when the incident occurred, the high commission said.
There were 10 passengers on board, but the nationalities of the others who died have yet to be determined, it said.
It said the boat capsized three miles south of Teluk Ramunia towards the South China Sea early today.
The high commission said the family had arrived in Kuala Lumpur on 18 April and were on a social visit to Malaysia.
It said efforts were being made to send the bodies to Quetta after the post-mortem.
The high commission can be contacted at 603-2164 5949, 017-886 3616. – Bernama