Boat tragedy: Body of GOF personnel found
SANDAKAN: The body of a 40year-old General Operations Force personnel, Asman Ongkal, who was the only passenger missing a er a passenger boat with 37 people, collided with another boat on Thursday, was found at about 6.22pm yesterday.
Sandakan Maritime Enforcement Agency Director, Maritime Captain Zainudin Mohd Zuki said that the body was found by fishermen who volunteered to take part in the search and rescue (SAR) operation.
“The victim was found floating near the coastal area, about one kilometre from location of the crash.
“He was found fully clothed in red shirt, jeans and red shoes, which is what he was wearing the last time he was seen.
“The victim’s family members have identified the victim, and the deceased was sent to Hospital Duchess of Kent for a post-mortem,” he said.
The case is now handed over to the Sandakan police headquarters for further action.
On Thursday, a passenger boat carrying 37 passengers, including 28 secondary school students and nine civilians crashed and sank a er it hit a boat that was being towed near
Kampung Tanjung Aru waters here, around 6am.
Many victims had claimed that Asman was the one who saved them when they were struggling in the water.
Meanwhile, Sandakan district police chief ACP Mohd Azhar Hamin said that the case was now reclassified from Section 280 of the Penal Code to Section 304 A of the same Code as it involved death.
He said that one out of three of the victims who were critical was reported to be stable and had been discharged.
“We are going to investigate if there was carelessness by the boat operator involved. We will also investigate if the passengers were wearing life jackets.
“We advise all boat operators to obey the sea transportation rules that are set by the government; make sure that all passengers wear life jacket, and make sure that the boat is not overloaded,” he said.
Azhar also said that the boat that had crashed during the accident was overloaded, as it would cause the boat to be unstable.
“Judging from its (boat) length, the boat only has a maximum capacity of 12 to 14 people,” Azhar said at a press conference at the Hospital Duchess of Kent.
The body of Corporal Asman Ongkal being taken to hospital for an autopsy a er it was found yesterday.