Families of missing anglers and boat skipper appeal to Sarawak govt to resume search operation

Zin Aman said that rescue teams from various agencies have been unable to uncover any new clues as to their whereabouts. ― Picture courtesy of MMEA
Zin Aman said that rescue teams from various agencies have been unable to uncover any new clues as to their whereabouts. ― Picture courtesy of MMEA

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KUCHING, Oct 20 — The families of four anglers and a boat skipper, who were reported missing on October 3 in the waters off Santubong, today appealed to the state government to resume search and rescue (SAR) operations, which were called off on October 9.

They said they have written to Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas and state Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian for assistance.

They added the five could have been kidnapped and taken to a foreign country since there was no evidence that their boat had capsized in the waters near Karang Berumput and Tukun Bass, off Santubong.

“We also believe they could still be somewhere there. We need to rescue them,” Vicky Lim, the mother of Leo Dy Lee Jiann Tarn, 33, one of the four missing anglers, told reporters on behalf of the families.

She appealed to the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) not to stop searching for their loved ones.

She said the families appreciated the SAR operations initiated by the relevant agencies in the immediate aftermath.

“But after seven days, the agencies found no proof of them. There were no signs of the boat,” she added.

“As family members, we need our government to search for them again,” she said.

She said the local fishing community is also lending a hand.

“We don’t know what to do. Maybe since there is no sign of them or the boat, we need the government to support us to search for them,” Lim said.

The SAR operations were initiated after the owner of the boat QKH 9826 SZ, Addin Chee Kifli lodged a police report on October 3 after the five did not return from their fishing expedition on October 1.

Apart from Leo Dy Lee, the others are boat skipper Kamizan bin Zaidi, 40, and anglers Yap Tze Kang, 41, Ng Chin Hui, 36, and Christoper Teo, 32.

On October 9, Sarawak Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director Zin Aman Mh Yunus said that the SAR operations to locate the five had been called off.

Zin Aman said that rescue teams from various agencies have been unable to uncover any new clues as to their whereabouts despite covering a large area in the seven-day search.

He said an orange lifebuoy was found about 34 nautical miles from the mouth of Santubong River and it was confirmed as belonging to the boat by its owner.

“Apart from that, there are no new clues, even though we have acquired assistance from the Fire and Rescue Department’s air unit and the police air unit. However, we still failed to locate the boat and the five people,” he said.

He said the SAR teams have covered an area of 3144 square nautical miles, involving various personnel and assets from MMEA, Civil Defence Department, Sarawak Coast Guard and Marine police.

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