to the families of the bereaved
in the sunken boat tragedy
may God bless them
as on 28th May 2013
|the ill-fated Kawan Mas express boat, picture was taken minutes before capsizing.|
KUCHING: A total of 181 passengers of an overloaded express boat travelling from Belaga to Kapit which sank near Giam Tukok, Bungan Tanjung this morning have been rescued.
Belaga police chief DSP Bakar Sebau confirmed the number of survivors to The Borneo Post in a telephone interview at 4.15pm.
He said the authorities believe 23 passengers are still missing, following interviews with family members and survivors.
According to him, the express boat, which had a capacity for 74 passengers, is likely to have struck a rock before it sank.
|sunken Kawan Mas, as seen from air.|
A team of police divers from Bintulu is on its way to the site.
Another team of police and paramedics from Kapit is expected to arrive in Belaga around 7pm.
Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang, who is Belaga assemblyman, was travelling from Belaga to Kuching in a helicopter when he saw the express boat go down.
The helicopter then landed and Liwan managed to organise villagers from two longhouses to assist in a rescue operation, which managed to rescue some 30 passengers.
Liwan then returned to Belaga where he is helping to co-ordinate the search and rescue for victims as well as assist family members of passengers yet to be found.
The express boat is said to have been overloaded with passengers, mostly Iban and Orang Ulu timber camp workers from Bakun, who were on their way to Kapit for Gawai Dayak.
The Belaga District Office confirmed that the express boat had departed Belaga at 8am and sank about an hour later.
No reports of casualties are available yet.
The boat was too full to pick up passengers from Belaga and as such many civil servants could not board including three Kapit Resident’s Office staff.
Belaga hosted the district’s pre-Gawai gathering last night, so many were in the town to attend the event.
|some of the passengers managed to swim ashore, |
as they looked on helplessly to the sinking boat.
as on 29th May 2013
|family members were having a hard time accepting the news|
KAPIT: The first two batches of survivors of the express boat ‘Kawan Mas’ that sank at Tanjong Kokok, Bungan Giam, about an hour downstream of Belaga Bazaar about 9am Tuesday arrived here late in the afternoon.
The first batch of 11 passengers arrived at 5.30pm on board a barge (Bintang Warisan) while another batch comprising three passengers arrived by speedboat belonging to Tuai Rumah Bujah at 6.30pm.
One of the three passengers was 44-year-old Ikam Kanyan from Sungai Asap Resettlement Scheme. He was a tractor operator working with WTK Logging Camp in Bakun. Another was Galong Sanidom, 43, of Rumah Melintang, Sungai Kapit, a colleague of Ikam, also a tractor operator. Another survivor is identified as 61-year-old Ipoh Bangsa from Rumah John, Nanga Benin. He is a truck driver with WTK O’carina Development Camp in Bakun.
Galong and Ipoh were on their way home to celebrate Gawai.
They were sitting on the roof of the express boat.
Galong said they left Bakun at 5.30am on board ‘Kawan Mas’, arrived in Belaga at 7.30am and left again for Kapit at 8am. The express boat capsized at 8.45am at Tanjong Kokok.
“We managed to swim to safety but our belongings and our money are all gone,” Galong said when met at the wharf here.
Jantan Budin, 55, from Rumah Nyawai, Mujong, Baleh River was among 11 passengers in the first batch, who were picked up by a passing tongkang ‘Bintang Warisan’. He is a lorry driver with a logging company belonging to Shin Yang.
Another victim identified as 30-year-old Tingi Baja from Rumah Lubang, Sungai Mujong, Baleh River is also a lorry driver with Sinyang Logging Camp. He said he was sitting inside the express boat when the accident happened.
“The boat was packed to capacity. Everybody panicked when they realized the express boat was sinking.”
Meanwhile, Sarawak Rivers Board has set up two counters at Belaga Wharf and Kapit Terminal to record the victims ’statement and to determine the total number of passengers on board the boat before it went down.
According to Belaga police chief, DSP Bakar, the express boat had the capacity to carry 75 passengers but believed that there were 204 passengers on board when it sank.
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