The search and rescue (SAR) operation for two Singaporeans who went missing while kayaking in Endau waters here entered its seventh day today, with the search area now extended to Kerteh waters in Terengganu.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Mersing Zone chief Maritime Commander Haris Fadzillah Abdullah said an MMEA vessel and a boat, and another boat under the command of the Civil Defence Force were combing an area of almost 500 square nautical miles from Kuantan to Kerteh.
“The SAR operation began at 8am today with a strength of 32 personnel from various agencies as the search area has been narrowed down and focused on the probability that the victims could be between where the kayaks were found off Kuantan waters and the location where the body of a female was found in Kuala Kemaman.
“Air assets are no more needed as the search is now focused on the 500 nautical square mile area,” he told reporters at the SAR base established at the Penyabong jetty in Endau, here today.
A similar SAR base in Kemaman will be activated very soon, Haris Fadzillah said, although the one in Endau will continue to operate to channel information to the victims’ families who have converged there.
At the same time, an MMEA boat was still combing Endau waters while a search was also being done along the coastline stretching from Kuala Kemaman to Paka.
He said the family of the woman who is one of the two victims missing were at the Kemaman Hospital to identify the body found off Kemaman waters yesterday.
"They have not viewed the body up close, only a picture provided by the hospital. Deoxyribonucleic acid test (DNA) samples have been taken from family members at 10 am today and we are waiting for the results,” he said.
Last Thursday, Singaporeans Tan Eng Soon (male), 62, and a woman Puah Geok Tin, 57, went missing at about 5.40pm after they got separated from a group of 13 friends while kayaking between Pulau Sri Buat, Pahang and Pulau Mertang, Mersing.
They were believed to have been separated in rough sea conditions, including strong winds and choppy waters.
Two days ago their kayak was found at 12.55pm off Kuantan waters before the body of a female was found by fishermen at 12.50pm some five nautical miles off Kuala Kemaman yesterday.