May 31, 2013

    About 12 still missing in Sarawak ferry sinking

    ONE person is confirmed dead and about a dozen are still missing two days after an overloaded ferry capsized in rough rapids on a remote Borneo river, Malaysian police said yesterday.

    The accident happened on Tuesday on the Rajang river, Malaysia's longest, deep in the interior of the vast island of Borneo as people travelled for the coming weekend's Gawai festival.

    "This morning a corpse was found not far from the accident location. He was a 44-year-old male," said Mr Bakar Anak Sebau, police chief of the town of Belaga.

    More than 190 people are reported to have survived the capsizing of the express river ferry, which was massively overloaded. The authorities have said its capacity was around 70.

    The distant location of the accident in the interior of the state of Sarawak has hampered rescue efforts and the flow of information.

    Mr Bakar said about 12 people were still believed missing but the exact number remained unclear due to the lack of a passenger manifest for the vessel.

    "As of now, we just can't give a clear number," he said.