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16 people survive 16-hour ordeal in sea off Tenggol after boat sinks

PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 11:00 am
by timyang
KEMAMAN: Three people including a boy and his four-month pregnant mother had to be rushed to a hospital near here after having survived a 16-hour ordeal floating in the sea.

The three – four-year-old Mohd Danial Aiman Mohd Zulkifli, his mother Noraini Sosilawati, 33 and Badrul Hisham Shariman, 40 – together with 13 others were found floating about 16 nautical miles from Pulau Tenggol off Dungun yesterday morning.

All 16 were reported missing on Saturday evening when their boat sprang a leak and sank after a scuba diving trip to the island.

They were all wearing life jackets when they were found by Marine Operations Force (MOF) personnel after a search and rescue operation was mounted yesterday evening.

MOF Eastern Region chief ACP Mohd Salleh Mat Jani said the rest who were in stable but weakened condition had been brought to the marine base near here.

They are skipper Zulfadly Yahya, Salmah Mohd Kasim, Muhamad Aman, Azhar Ahmad, Mazli Abd Malik, Mohd Zulkifli Mat Daud, Loo Kit Choong, Mohd Azharini Mohd Amin, Ayud Haida Sulai man, Norazimimah Abdul and three women known only as Anis Shafina, Maria and Aida,

They were suffering from the cold when spotted by searching MOF personnel 16 nautical miles south of the island, said Mohd Saleh.

He said rescuers spotted the survivors after one of them hurled a safety jacket into the air.

Nightmare over: Medical personnel attending to the fourmonth pregnant Noraini following her rescue.
They were reported missing at 6.45pm on Saturday after their boat sprang a leak as soon as they left the island for the mainland during rough weather.

According to the survivors, for most of the 16 hours they were adrift at sea, all they could do was pray that they would be rescued alive.

Skipper Zulfadly said in the dark of the night, several ships almost ran into them.

“As soon as I realised that our boat was going to sink, I asked all the passengers, who had put on the life jackets, to jump into the sea,” he said.

Zulfadly said they tried swimming towards the island but were shoved back by the strong waves.

“We made sure that we remained together as one group to facilitate spotting by rescuers,” said Zulfadly who has been a boatman for 11 years.

He said that during the night, it began to rain and several of them were stung by jelly fish, and some of the women began to cry.

However, they continued to pray and talked each other into not giving up hope.

They survived by drinking the rain water.

Terengganu Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Ahmad Said visited the survivors at the Kemaman Hospital, and said he was thankful all of them were safe without serious injury except for jelly fish stings.

“I would advise those who want to visit the islands in the state to do so after the rainy season,” he said.