Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Overloading continues despite boat tragedy

Despite the tragedy a day earlier, express boat operators in Kapit continue to overload their boats with people and goods on Wednesday as folks find their way back to the hometowns for the weekend Gawai celebrations.

The boats are still being overloaded with people and goods a day after one capzised along Balui river leaving 14 people still missing.

And the rush home for the weekend Gawai celebrations has added pressure on the situation.

The scene at the jetty here on Wednesday was a serious cause for concern.

There were parents carrying babies and passengers bringing at least two bags on board the boat. Even a heavy generator set was seen among the belongings. Officials from the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) were helpless to control the situation.

The ticket price had also doubled due to the demand. Most of the passengers were aware of Tuesday's tragedy but said they had no choice but to take the river boat.

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“The express boat is our only mode of transport to reach home,” said Chandie Patan, 50 who was waiting to depart for Baleh with some 30 family members. She was furious having to pay RM30 per ticket when the normal price is RM15.

“I believe the people who sell the tickets are touts. We have no choice or else how can we go back.

"There are only two boats going to Baleh daily. This you must write so that the authority know the actual situation on the ground," she said angrily. The trip to Balleh takes two hours.

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