Sabah boat survivors to be hospitalised another week

A victim of the capsized catamaran is wheeled into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu January 30, 2017. — Bernama pic
A victim of the capsized catamaran is wheeled into the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kota Kinabalu January 30, 2017. — Bernama pic

KOTA KINABALU, Jan 31 ― The 20 Chinese tourists who survived after a catamaran they were on capsized in the cold waters of the South China Sea will be hospitalised for another week.

Queen Elizabeth Hospital director Dr Heric Corray said that the victims needed some time to recover but some may be discharged a few days earlier.

“We expect them to be here for another week or so, although a few may be discharged earlier.

“They are also currently treated in separate wards, but we will put them together so they can support each other,” said Dr Heric when met at the hospital today.

According to him, the 20 survivors sustained non-critical injuries of first degree burns, dehydration and hypothermia.

The 20 China nationals were part of a bigger group of 28 people and three crew members who were on a boat trip headed towards Mengalum island on the first day of Chinese New Year.

Bad weather caused the catamaran to capsize, killing three of them.

The survivors had spent 32 hours adrift at sea before a fishing trawler and a tugboat spotted them and brought them to safety. They arrived in Kota Kinabalu at about 1.50am on Monday morning and were rushed to the hospital for treatment.

“Post mortem has been performed on two of the bodies, but we are still waiting for the family member of the remaining body,” said Dr Corray.

Search and rescue authorities are still looking for six more people ― five tourists and one local boatman ― although the numbers and identities have yet to be finalised due to a discrepancy in their passenger records.

The search area spans across 3,000 square nautical miles and includes some 20 sea and air vessels from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the air force, navy, marine police and the Brunei air force are involved in the sea and search.

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