Matan sat on the roof of the boat as the hull was packed to the brim. As the express boat sunk, he scrambled and swam to safety, leaving his belongings behind.
“The boat was travelling at a normal speed when it suddenly rammed into a large timber log. The juragan (skipper) lost control of the boat due to the strong impact. The boat then hit a large rock in the water,” said the 50-year-old survivor, who only wanted to be known as Matan.
The collision, he added, resulted in the boat tilting to one side, which caused it to sink.
How it happened: Matan telling of is ordeal. How it happened: Matan telling of is ordeal.
This caused panic to the passengers inside the boat and also those sitting on the roof. Some of them smashed the side glass window to escape, he said.
“I quickly swam to the riverbank leaving all my belongings behind.
“There were also others, I can't remember how many, who also followed me,” he added.
Matan said there were people who wore life jackets and also those who did not.
Another survivor, Lee Ping said despite the boat being full, he had no choice but to use it as there was only one boat going down to Kapit yesterday morning.
“Everything happened so fast that our only thought was to escape to safety,” he added.
A timber camp worker said after they had swum to safety to the riverbank, a tongkang, Bintang Warisan passed by, picked them up and sent them to Kapit town. The boat arrived at Kapit town at about 5.30pm.
Family members who were earlier informed by the survivors by handphones waited anxiously for them.
Officers from the Sarawak Rivers Board were also there.