Search narrowed for missing Singaporean kayaker, after body reportedly sighted in Dungun waters

A kayak believed to belong to two missing Singaporeans in the waters of Mersing, was found by local fishermen in the waters of Tanjung Gelang, Kuantan August 13, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency
A kayak believed to belong to two missing Singaporeans in the waters of Mersing, was found by local fishermen in the waters of Tanjung Gelang, Kuantan August 13, 2019. — Picture courtesy of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

CHUKAI, Aug 16 — The search and rescue (SAR) operation for Singaporean Tan Eng Soon, who went missing in a kayaking expedition last week, was today focused on the waters between Kemanan and Merchang in Marang following the reported sighting of a body in Dungun waters yesterday.

Kemaman zone maritime director Maritime Commander Rashidilhadi Abd Rashid said, according to a local fishermen’s WhatsApp group, the body, still strapped with a life jacket, was found 40 nautical miles from the search area.

“Unfortunately, the body was not tied or marked. For the time being, we are depending on this information to narrow down the search area,” he told reporters when met at the Kemaman Maritime Zone Jetty here.

Tan, 62, and a woman also from Singapore, Puah Geok Tin, 57, were reported missing on August 8 after their kayak was separated from their group of friends between Pulau Sri Buat, Pahang and Pulau Mertang, Mersing due to rough sea and strong winds.

However, Puah's body was found on Wednesday in the waters off Kuala Kemaman, following which a forward operation base was set up in Kemaman yesterday.

“Today's search involved six boats, four from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and one each from the Marine Police and the Civil Defence Force.

“Although the weather today is better than yesterday’s, the current haze restricted the use of our assets. That is why the search involved maritime assets only,” he said in a briefing on the SAR operation, which entered its eighth day today.

He said the operation will be expanded to Kuala Terengganu tomorrow since the remains could have been moved by strong currents.

Meanwhile, Tan’s eldest child, Liane Tan, 30, who arrived here this afternoon, hoped that there would be more leads on the whereabouts of her father.

“With the local fishermen’s support, we hope to be able to find more clues. That is all we hope for now,” she said when met at the Kemaman maritime zone jetty. — Bernama

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