SINGAPORE : Three Singaporeans have died after a boat carrying 29 passengers capsized off Mersing, Johor.
Mersing Police Chief, Mohd Nor Rashid, said: “Three Singaporeans died in the accident and everyone has been accounted for, except two other Singaporeans who are missing. We are now carrying out a search and rescue for them.”
The boat was travelling from Sibu Island towards Mersing's Tanjung Leman ferry terminal when the incident occurred at 1.30pm on Sunday.
Mr Mohd Nor said: “Our reports indicate that there were 19 Singaporeans, one Chinese national and nine Malaysians on board the wooden boat when it capsized…near the mainland's jetty.”
Malaysian police believe the boat was overloaded beyond its normal capacity of 12 passengers.
Mr Mohd Nor told Channel NewsAsia strong winds and currents may also have caused the boat to capsize.
He said that the boat driver and operator have been arrested, adding that early indications show there were no life jackets on board.
Search and rescue operations are ongoing.
According to Malaysian media, the three Singaporeans who died in the incident are Adrian Tan, aged 67; Chua Lim Khoon, aged 45; and Low Li Jun, aged 33.
Mr Chua and Ms Low were cousins. Both were single.
When MediaCorp went to Mr Chua's Hougang home on Sunday evening, one of his cousins – who only identified himself as Mr Lim – said that Mr Chua lived with his mother.
Mr Chua had two other brothers and a sister. Their father is deceased.
Mr Lim said Mr Chua and Ms Low had gone to the resort with friends. He said family members have gone to the accident site to find out what happened.
Meanwhile, Singapore's Foreign Affairs Ministry said Singaporeans who are unable to reach their loved ones who were on the boat can contact the MFA duty office at +65-6379-8800 (24 hours) and the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Bahru at +60-7226-5012 (24 hours).
Channel News Asia