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Search area for missing Singaporean kayakers expanded, more assets deployed on fourth day of rescue efforts

SINGAPORE — The search area for two Singaporeans who went missing while kayaking on the Endau waters in Mersing, Johor, has been expanded and more assets have been deployed in the rescue effort, on the fourth day of the operation.

Search area for missing Singaporean kayakers expanded, more assets deployed on fourth day of rescue efforts

The search area for two Singaporeans who went missing while kayaking on the Endau waters in Mersing, Johor, has been expanded and more assets have been deployed in the rescue effort.

SINGAPORE — The search area for two Singaporeans who went missing while kayaking on the Endau waters in Mersing, Johor, has been expanded and more assets have been deployed in the rescue effort, on the fourth day of the operation.

Malaysian news agency Bernama reported on Monday (Aug 12) that the aerial search for the missing Singaporeans, Mr Tan Eng Soon, 52, and Mdm Puah Geok Tin, 64, has been expanded to 900 square nautical miles from 300 nautical square miles, encompassing the east and north of Pulau Tioman, Pahang.

The news agency said that the sea search had similarly been expanded to 600 square nautical miles from 200 square nautical miles originally, covering the east of Rompin to the north of Tioman Island.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Mersing Zone chief Maritime Commander Haris Fadzillah Abdullah was quoted by Bernama as saying that they have also doubled the number of search and rescue personnel from various agencies involved in the search.

As of Monday, Commander Haris told Bernama there were 104 personnel involved, compared to 50 on Sunday.

“So far we have not found any leads and are still hoping to find them. That is why the SAR (search and rescue) has been scaled up,” the news agency quoted Commander Haris as saying, adding that the unpredictable weather and south west monsoon winds were their biggest challenge.

To assist in the search, Commander Haris said that more air assets have been deployed, bringing the total number of aircraft involved in the search to five.

Of these, four of them comprise of AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters — two of which were provided by the MMEA, while the Fire and Rescue Department and the Royal Malaysia Police (RMP) provided one each.

An additional Beechcraft plane from the RMP is also involved in the search and rescue operation.

Aside from the aircrafts, Commander Haris said that seven sea assets were deployed on Monday to assist in the operation.

He said they are Royal Malaysian Navy vessel KD Handalan, MMEA vessel KM Niah and boats Penggalang 19, Pengawal 32 and Kilat 14 and RMP Marine Operations Force’s PAC 28 and PC 31.

Mersing police acting chief ASP Mohd Nor Mohd Isa told the Malaysian media on Saturday that Mr Tan and Mdm Puah started kayaking from the Penyabong jetty in Mersing at 10am on Thursday.

"At about 5.40pm, when they were in between Pulau Sri Buat, Pahang and Pulau Mertang in Endau waters, (they were) believed to have separated from the group due to turbulent sea and strong winds,” ASP Mohd Nor was quoted as saying in a statement.

He added that efforts to locate the pair by their friends failed and they subsequently lodged a police report at Rompin police station, Pahang at 10.30am on Friday. About five hours later, a search and rescue mission involving 13 personnel was activated.

In a statement issued around 1pm on Saturday, Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Baru has been "in close contact with the Malaysian authorities who are coordinating the ongoing search operations".

"A team from our Consulate-General is currently on the ground to provide assistance and close support," the MFA said.

Apart from supporting the search operations, the MFA and the Consulate-General are providing consular assistance to the next-of-kin of the missing Singaporeans. AGENCIES

 

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Mersing missing kayaking Malaysia

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