Malaysian and Philippine authorities have been conducting joint search and rescue/recovery operations in the waters off Sabah after a small boat carrying nine people capsized and sank in Merabung on Thursday, October 24.
The Marine Police Force (MPF) of the Royal Malaysia Police first learned of the incident at around 15:05 local time on Thursday when its personnel received a distress call from a boat that had earlier sailed out of Tawi-Tawi province in the Southern Philippines.
MPF units that were immediately despatched to the scene were able to rescue the boat’s captain, who has been identified as a 29-year-old Filipino male. However, no other survivors have been found.
Bodies believed to be those of two passengers from the sunken boat have been discovered floating in the surrounding waters in the days following the sinking.
An MPF official said that the search for the six missing passengers, including two children, will continue with the assistance of Philippine authorities.
The same official added that the boat’s captain has continually kept silent on the incident and refuses to cooperate with investigators.
Authorities suspect the boat may have been attempting to enter Malaysia illegally when it capsized.
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