Why stop search for missing boat crew, asks minister

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KUCHING: Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah has reprimanded a Search and Rescue (SAR) team for stopping its search for the 10 missing victims of a fishing boat that capsized off Pulau Satang at 6.30pm on Saturday.

The fishing boat had capsized in the morning.

“I was told that the SAR team stopped its search for the victims at 6:30pm yesterday. The weather was good yesterday, so why must there be office hours’ time for the search and rescue when the local folks are still out there scouting for the victims?” he questioned.

He said this during a press conference after his working visit to officiate at the upgrade and improvement works at the Sarawak Cultural Village on Sunday (Oct 3).

“It is saddening that the incident happened and I would like to suggest to those who deploy the SAR to equip the task force with better equipment,” he added.

Abdul Karim further revealed nine out of ten victims were found at one o’clock this morning by the local folks in the area and that the victim who was still missing was his cousin.

“If the local folks are able to continue their search until late, why can’t the SAR do so as well? Additionally, I did not see any members of the Sarawak Coast Guard joining the SAR team in finding the victims.

“The government had spent billions on the Sarawak Coast Guard for its boats and yet they were kept at the jetty when the people needed them.

“I hope that a task force from the Coast Guard will be deployed to search for victims in any incidents similar to this,” added Abdul Karim.

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