Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Belaga tragedy: Attempts to refloat boat unsuccessful

Operations on the ninth day of the attempts to refloat the ‘Kawan Mas’ express boat, which sank in the Rajang River last week, were again aborted and it has been put on hold again today.

The failure raised questions whether the current team should be changed to those with more ‘expertise’ and knowledge of the best methods to deal with the situation.

Since the first day of the tragedy, apart from search and rescue (SAR) operations, various efforts were made to refloat the capsized boat including by using two barges to pull the boat, but to no avail.

Today, attempts were made since 9am by police and fire and rescue department diver teams where according to the initial plan, the team would fix a cable from the mainland to the cable that was tied on both doors of the boat, before the cable was pulled using a winch chain from two tractors borrowed from a logging company.

But until the operation was postponed at 5.30pm today, attempts to float the boat were still unsuccessful and were put on hold again.

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Belaga district police chief DSP Bakar Sebau, when asked whether the existing team needed help from a more ‘expert’ team, said he did not dismiss the proposition if it could solve the problems.

“The efforts will be discussed with district officials tonight, if all the committee members agreed, we will make an application on the matter,” he told reporters here today.

Bakar said he would also deliberate on the request from local people who were familiar and had experienced diving in the tragedy area to help police and fire diver teams to refloat the boat.

He said tomorrow the SAR team would continue to scour the Rajang River for the two passengers who were still reported missing. — Bernama

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