Search called off for missing 62yo angler after no new clues found

Marine enforcement officers briefing the missing angler's family members of developments in the SAR operation. Photo credit: Ukas

BINTULU, Sept 29: The search for a 62-year-old angler who has been missing since the boat he was on sank on Sept 20 in waters off Mukah was called off at 3pm yesterday after no new leads were found.

According to a news report by Sarawak Public Communications Unit (Ukas), Maritime Bintulu Zone director Captain Mohd Khairol Anuar Saad said the decision to end the search and rescue (SAR) operation was made after no new clues were found during the seven days of the said operation.

He said the victim identified as Wong Yuk Kong was still not found after searchers combed an area covering 1,319.87 square nautical miles involving air and sea for seven days.

“The search also covered Pantai Penat, Tanjung Bunut, Kingwood Resort beach and Kampung Judan beach by the team based at the Mukah LKIM (Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority) jetty,” he said in a statement yesterday (Sept 28).

Various assets were deployed for the SAR operation including a CL415 Bombardier aircraft and an EC725 aircraft as well as ships and boats involving the Marine Police Force, Sarawak Marine Fisheries Department, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, and Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba).

The operation coordinated by the Maritime Rescue Sub Centre (MRSC) Kuching was also assisted by Petroliam Nasional Berhad (Petronas), Sarawak Shell Berhad, fishermen from the Sarawak Fishing Community Association as well as the police.

In the Sept 20 incident, a boat numbered SF2-2837 which was boarded by 11 men comprising a skipper, two crew members and eight anglers was reported to have sunk at about 8.30pm at a position approximately 34 nautical miles northwest of Mukah.

The first two victims were found by MT Capella drifting in the waters of Mukah at around 3pm on Sept 21, while the remaining eight victims with two dead were found by the SAR team after the operation was launched.

Malaysia Maritime welcomes information from the entire community, especially to report any emergency at sea directly via the MERS 999 hotline or the Bintulu Maritime Zone Maritime Operations Centre at 086-314254 and the Sarawak State Maritime Operations Centre 082-432544/ 082-432016 which operate 24 hours. — DayakDaily