Compensate the victims
Published on: Sunday, February 12, 2017

Kota Kinabalu: China's Consul General in Sabah Chen Peijie (pic) hopes for a justified solution, including compensation, for the victims of the Jan. 28 catamaran boat capsize near Pulau Mengalum. "The bigger concern for me is the follow up. I hope they can give a justified solution, including compensation, for the victims. Perhaps this will take time," she said after attending the Kota Kinabalu Journalist Association's Chinese New Year luncheon at the Hakka Hall here, Saturday.

On the search and rescue operations, she said she knows that the search is still being done and thanked all those involved in the efforts rendered to trace the five who remain missing as at press time.

"I go to the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre every day, I know they decided to continue with the search but I don't know when will they reduce their efforts but for now it is still on-going and I thank them very much for that," she added.

She said the medical treatment for the victims has also gone well and noted that all the victims have already been discharged from the hospital.

"Some have already returned home, while some are still here to cooperate in giving their statements to the police.

Perhaps they will also be leaving for China soon.

"They have suffered a lot here and they just really want to go back soon, the funds for their travel back depends on the travel agencies. I think they have come to a solution on that matter," she said.

Twenty China tourists were admitted to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital 1 on Jan. 29 for dehydration, first degree burns through prolonged exposure to the sun or suffered from hypothermia after they were adrift at sea for about 36 hours before being rescued by local fishermen.

Their failure to arrive prompted a search and rescue operation with 20 of the passengers and two crew members rescued by fishermen on Jan. 29. Three were found dead.

Six people were initially reported missing until Feb. 4 when the body of a woman, later identified as Jianyi Yang, 38, was found by local fishermen some 13 nautical miles off Pulau Mengalum.

This brought the figure of missing people to five, two of who have been confirmed by survivors to have died on the day the catamaran capsized. The search and rescue operation entered its 15th day on Saturday with still no trace of the five.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan Regional Director First Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som said nine assets have been deployed to scour 300 nautical miles in the waters of Sabah, Brunei and Miri.

"We will continue the search until further orders," he said.

Meanwhile, in Tawau, search entered its fourth day with still no trace of two people, a man and a child, who remained missing at sea following a boat capsize off Tawau on Feb. 7, which left nine dead as at press time.

Zubil said 11 assets were deployed to search 77 nautical miles off Batu Payung waters in Tawau, adding that the identity of the two missing has yet to be established.

The duo are among 15 people, who left Tawau for Sungai Nyamuk in Indonesia at about 5.30pm on Feb 7 when their boat capsized. Two of those onboard were later identified to be Malaysians (skipper and one passenger) while the rest were Indonesians.

Four people survived the ordeal, while nine bodies have already been found, namely six in the Indonesian waters by search and rescue teams from the neighbouring country, and three in Malaysian waters. - Sherell Ann Jeffrey


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