Boat tragedy: Body of GOF per­son­nel found

The Borneo Post (Sabah) - - Front Page - By Re­becca Chong

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.

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