08/03/2024 10:53 PM

KAPIT, March 8 (Bernama) -- Rising water levels, swift currents, and murky water posed significant challenges today for the search and rescue team in locating four individuals missing after a boat capsized in the Batang Baleh river, Kapit, yesterday evening.

Sibu Zone Fire and Rescue Department chief, Andy Alie, stated that floating debris and driftwood further limited visibility in the river to just one metre.

Despite the team's patience and extensive experience, the second-day operations failed to locate the missing individuals, that includes two police officers from the Kapit District police headquarters – Sergeant Jonathan Lambet from the Welfare branch and Constable Iskandar Ibrahim from the Armament branch.

Both officers were en route from Kapit to Nanga Tulie escorting a 35-kilogramme load of explosive materials with 1050 rounds of detonators.

The explosive materials were reported to be intended for rock blasting activities for a road construction project in the Baleh area.

The two other missing victims have been identified as civilians Amerson John Nain, 47, and Jack Balan, 45, while another civilian, Moses Ngui, 47, was rescued by the public yesterday.

In the 5 pm incident, a fiberglass boat with a 30-horsepower outboard engine, carrying the victims, was sucked into a whirlpool near SK Lepong Baleh before capsizing.

Today's search and rescue operation along the Rajang River involved the Fire and Rescue Department, Police, Malaysian Civil Defence Force, and the Sarawak Rivers Board, spanning from the site of the incident to the Song district.

"At 6 pm, the operation was halted due to heavy rain, and darkness setting in.  It will resume tomorrow," said Andy.