JOHOR BARU, Aug 12 — Four more aircraft from different rescue agencies have been deployed today, bringing air assets to five, in the search and rescue (SAR) operation for two Singaporeans reported missing while kayaking in Endau waters near Mersing on Thursday.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Mersing Zone chief Maritime Commander Haris Fadzillah Abdullah said the assets deployed now were two MMEA AW139 helicopters, an AW139 from the Fire and Rescue Department and an AW139 and Beechcraft plane belonging to the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP).
The search area with the air assets was being expanded to 900 square nautical miles encompassing the east and north of Pulau Tioman, Pahang, he told reporters at the Penyabong passenger jetty in Endau near here.
Besides the air assets, Haris Fadzillah said seven sea assets were also deployed today for the SAR operation, which enters the fourth day today.
They are Royal Malaysian Navy vessel KD Handalan, MMEA vessel KM Niah and boats Penggalang 19, Pengawal 32 and Kilat 14 and RMP Marine Operations Force’s PAC 28 and PC 31.
The sea search, he said, was also being expanded to 600 square nautical miles, covering the east of Rompin to the north of Tioman Island.
He said the number of SAR personnel from various agencies in today’s operation has been increased to 104 as compared to 50 yesterday.
“So far we have not found any leads and are still hoping to find them. That is why the SAR has been scaled up,” said Haris Fadzillah, adding that the unpredictable weather and south west monsoon winds were their biggest challenge.
Last Thursday, Tan Eng Soon, a 62-year-old man and Puah Geok Tin, a 57-year-old woman, were reported missing at about 5.40pm after their kayak was separated from a group of 13 friends at an area between Pulau Sri Buat in Pahang and Pulau Mertang in Mersing.
They were believed to be separated from the group due to rough sea and strong winds. — Bernama