KUCHING: A search and rescue operation has been launched for a fishing boat operator reported missing after the boat with ten persons on board capsized about two nautical miles off Pulau Satang Besar on Saturday.
In the incident, eight anglers and the boat’s skipper have been safely accounted for. All nine individuals wearing life jackets were found safe by other fishermen at around 1am Sunday not far from the location.
Following their discovery, the group aged between 30 and 54, were brought back to Telaga Air public jetty at around 5am.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sarawak director Zin Azman Md Yunus said the search operation yesterday involved a Police Air Unit drone and marine vehicles from Petra Jaya fire station and Sarawak Marine Police Force.
The search operations involved a total of 60 personnel and four marine assets from various agencies.
“As of 2pm, the missing person identified as Awang Omar Awang Hasmawi, 59, who is an experienced swimmer, is still at large and we hope to find him as soon as possible.
“We will continue the search operations and will enlist the Sarawak Fire Department and Police Air Unit’s assistance to help us find the victim by air,” he said.
Zin also explained that at the time of the incident, there was a thunderstorm warning and the waves were about 1.5 to two metres high.
The Maritime Rescue Boat 8 that was nearby Telaga Air waters, was instructed to go to the scene to look for them, however, due to the waves, it was difficult to spot the victims.
Asked on another case of a damaged fishing boat around Telaga Air waters, he confirmed that the boat with five anglers, was supposed to return last Saturday.
“Until now, we have yet to receive any complaints of fishermen missing. We believe that the boat is either anchoring at another place or is damaged.
“Either way, we have asked the owner to keep us updated.
“Our marine assets were also instructed to be on the lookout for any fishing boat that was reported to not return back to the jetty,” he stated.