Saturday August 18, 2012
One dead, five missing as boat capsizes in bid to leave country
By DESIREE TRESA GASPER
JOHOR BARU: An attempt by a group of illegal immigrants to leave the country illegally went horribly wrong when their boat overturned due to strong waves, leaving one dead and another five missing.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Southern Region enforcement chief First Admiral Adon Shalan said a passenger and the boat's skipper were rescued but the remaining passengers were still missing.
“The skipper, Harmin Latip, 44, was rescued by fishermen off the waters of Tanjung Pengelih in Kota Tinggi at around 8.25pm on Thursday.
“MMEA officials managed to rescue one of the Indonesian passengers, Zulkarnain Yusman, 26, at around 9.30pm near Tanjung Pengelih as well,” he said, adding that the man was found clinging to a buoy.
Adon said both survivors had suffered multiple cuts and bruises and were sent to the Sungai Rengit clinic for treatment and later to the Kota Tinggi police headquarters.
“Officials from the Singapore Coast Guard also alerted us on the discovery of a body of an Indonesian man identified as Shamsudin, 34, around that time,” he said, adding that the man was believed to be part of the group.
Adon said that upon questioning the survivors, MMEA officials managed to find out that the group had tried to leave the country illegally from Kampung Pasir Putih in Pasir Gudang at around noon on Thursday.
“The survivors also told us the boat overturned due to strong waves and five passengers, including a woman, were swept away by the waves,” he said.
He added that officials were still on the lookout for the remaining victims.
Adon said that during the Ramadan period, MMEA officials together with the state Immigration Department had managed to thwart more than 10 vessels that were attempting to leave the country illegally.