Published: Saturday November 1, 2008 MYT 6:27:00 PM
Updated: Saturday November 1, 2008 MYT 7:12:20 PM
Penans find surveyors lost in jungle for five days
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: Semi-nomadic Penans have found two surveyors lost since Oct 28 in the remote jungles of Long Seridan in northern Sarawak while carrying out demarcation works for the proposed RM3bil Sabah-Sarawak Gas Pipeline (SSGP).
The Penans, who were out hunting and collecting jungle produce, found Ismail Salleh, 31 and Rano Sani, 26, at about 3pm on Saturday, as a plane and helicopter searched the air and 15 rescue personnel combed the thick jungles of Baram.
They were among 50 surveyors drawing up a land route to lay a 500-km long gas pipeline from Kimanis near Kota Kinabalu to Bintulu town, the gas capital of Sarawak. The project was undertaken by Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Petronas.
Baram District Police Chief Deputy Supt Jonathan Jalin said that though the men had gone missing five days ago, it had taken some members of his team until Saturday to get out of the jungle and get to Marudi, 200kms inland from Miri, to make the police report.
“We mobilised two aircrafts, one fixed wing plane and a helicopter to carry out aerial searches as well as 15 search and rescue personnels on the ground.
“However, at about 3pm, I got a radio call from our men in the jungles of Long Seridan that the missing duo had been found by a group of Penans who were in the jungles hunting and collecting vegetables.
“The Penans had taken them to a location where the search and rescue parties could meet them and take them out to the nearest accessible settlement.
“How the duo got lost is still a puzzle. We (police) will interview them soon, but the good news is that they are not hurt,” said DSP Jalin.
The place where the duo went missing is about eight hours land journey from Miri City. DSP Jalin said the team of surveyors had set up base-camp near Long Seridan, which is four hours from Long Lama village, to carry out land survey operations near the Sarawak-Sabah border.
On Oct 28, the two men, local Sarawakians, failed to return to the base-camp.