Fishermen recover body of woman near Pulau Mengalum

KOTA KINABALU: Local fishermen have retrieved the body of a woman from the waters between Pulau Mengalum and Pulau Tiga.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) state director, Maritime Commodore Adam Aziz said the fishermen found the body, in red blouse and black slacks, entangled in their net at 9.25am today.

The body was found eight nautical miles southwest of Pulau Mengalum and 13 nautical miles northeast of the location of the recent boat tragedy and 20 nautical miles northwest of Pulau Tiga, he told a press conference here today.

He said a search and rescue (SAR) team from the marine police in a vessel, RH51, and MMEA personnel in their maritime vessel, Adil, went to fetch the remains from the fishermen's boat to be brought to the marine police jetty.

"The SAR team is on its way to Kota Kinabalu and expected to arrive at 12.30pm today," he said.

Adam said the body would be sent to hospital for post mortem before being confirmed whether it was related to last Saturday's catamaran tragedy.

He said the discovery would serve as a direction for the SAR team to find the remaining victims of the incident.

"I have contacted the Fishermen's Association to help in the operation by casting their nets over the eight nautical miles off Pulau Mengalum," he said.

On the SAR operation which enters its eighth day today, he said efforts were being carried out to find six other victims of the boat tragedy.

The operation involving 16 assets comprising four ships, seven boats and five aircrafts and over 1,900 nautical sq miles, covers the waters off Sabah and Miri, Sarawak as well as Brunei Darussalam.

In the incident at 10am last Saturday, the catamaran which was carrying 28 tourists from China and three crew was believed to have capsized amidst strong winds and huge waves while heading to Pulau Mengalum, 56km northwest of Kota Kinabalu.

To date, 25 victims had been found including three who perished. — Bernama