4 people who went missing at sea for 11 days found alive, Malaysian officials say

Members of MMEA and Malaysian Navy divers preparing to dive to a boat believed to be sunken, during a Search and Rescue operation in Sabah, Malaysia on May 9, 2016.
Members of MMEA and Malaysian Navy divers preparing to dive to a boat believed to be sunken, during a Search and Rescue operation in Sabah, Malaysia on May 9, 2016. PHOTO: EPA

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - Four people, including three foreigners, who went missing 11 days ago in Malaysian waters are safe after they were apparently picked up by Vietnamese fishing vessels, officials said on Thursday (May 12).

Spanish nationals David Hernandes Gasulla and Martha Miguel, Hong Kong citizen Tommy Lam Wai Yin, and Malaysian Armilla Alihassan went missing in their small boat on May 2 in waters off the northern tip of Borneo island.

But Malaysian coast guard and naval ships conducting a search discovered them aboard Vietnamese fishing trawlers Thursday morning during an inspection of the vessels, the coast guard said.

"All four missing people are alive. They are on board some Vietnamese fishing trawlers on the high seas," coast guard chief Ahmad Puzi told AFP.

The group was expected to be brought back to the Malaysian city of Kota Kinabalu on Borneo in the evening.

No other information on the foursome's ordeal or how they ended up on the Vietnamese ships was released immediately.

Malaysian fishermen over the weekend recovered an engine entangled in their net that was believed to be from the missing vessel, prompting fears that the boat had sunk.