SINGAPORE – He telephoned his mother and sister-in-law on Sunday morning to share the excitement of a good catch from his kelong fishing trip in Sibu Island.
They were Mr Chua Lim Khoon’s last words to them. The boat he was on, which was making its way from the kelong to a jetty in Mersing, capsized about 300m from its destination.
Mr Chua, 45, a project coordinator with a start-up firm, was one of the four people who died from the boating tragedy that happened on Sunday.
Another victim, Ms Low Li Jun, 33, was a cousin while the other two, Mr Adrian Tan, 67, and Mr Tor Soon Kwee, 41, were his friends.
Mr Chua, a bachelor known as "Ben", was the youngest of four siblings.
His body was brought back to Singapore last night by his sister and eldest brother.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman said that the bodies of the other three Singaporeans would be returning to Singapore yesterday evening.
The MFA and Singapore’s Consulate-General in Johor Baru assisted with arrangements for the return.
Speaking to MediaCorp at the wake last night, one of Mr Chua’s brothers, who declined to be named, said the close-knit family has been going on fishing trips for the past six to seven years.
They used to go as often as "once a month", but in recent years, the trips had been less frequent.
Mr Chua had gone for the ill-fated trip because he wanted to unwind with friends and family at the kelong, a sister-in-law said.
The brother who spoke to MediaCorp said he was supposed to go on the trip but did not because of work commitments.
When asked to describe his younger brother, he became teary-eyed. "He was a good brother, and he took very good care of our mother," he said. Cheow Xin Yi