Thursday, January 11, 2007

Chief Minister orders Full Probe into Tour Boat Capsizing

KOTA KINABALU: A full investigation has been ordered into Tuesday’s tour boat capsize off Pulau Libaran in the east coast Sandakan in which a local woman drowned.

Chief Minister Datuk Musa Aman said statements would be taken from the tour operators who took the group from Sandakan to Pulau Libaran.

“I am waiting for a full report on the matter. We will see what to do next,” he told reporters when asked what action would be taken against the tour operator.

In view of the uncertain weather conditions, he said, tour operators should not go out to sea.
This was one of the safety aspects emphasised by the state government.

“This (incident) will not affect the tourism industry, but we hope it will not be repeated,” he said in thanking those involved in rescuing the victims.

Musa also extended his condolence to Mariahmah Kawari's family.

The survivors were rescued by villagers and taken to Libaran Lodge on the island.

They are Ross Webber, Megan Johns, Kimberly Chinpoy and Prudence Verco (Australians), Russel Holdsworth and Christina Grant (British) and New Zealander Suzanne Clifton; And Malaysians tour guide Robert Ernest, 26, boatman Emping Chekol, 59, and another company staff identified as Wahid, 27.

Their boat had overturned in choppy waters in bad weather at about noon on Tuesday.
The navy’s KD Sandakan base commanding officer Jamalludin Mohd Saman urged tour operators and fishermen to heed the Red Alert weather warning and not go out to sea.

The navy had despatched KD Pahang to bring the survivors back here as leisure craft are too dangerous.

The survivors are now staying at Sandakan Hotel.

Source : STAR
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