KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The boat carrying a Spanish couple and two others which went missing in the waters off northern Sabah is confirmed to have capsized, following the recovery of a speedboat engine by fishermen, Malaysia's coast guard said on Sunday (May 8).
The group had been on a two-hour boat ride from the island of Pulau Balambangan to Simpang Mengayau, more popularly known as the Tip of Borneo, when their boat went missing last Monday.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA)'s Sabah and Labuan regional director First Admiral Mohd Zubil Mat Som said family members confirmed that the engine retrieved by fishermen on Sunday belonged to the boat used by Tanjung Simpang Mengayau resort owner Tommy Lam Wai Yin.
"We are sure now that the boat capsized at about 2.6 nautical miles from Pulau Balambangan,'' Zubil said, adding that they were still continuing their search for the four missing passengers.
He added that, according to the fishermen, the entire boat was trapped in their nets, which tore as they pulled.
"The boat, which has another 30HP engine on board, was cut back into the sea as it was too heavy for them to lift out. The net was also tearing," he said.
Zubil said divers have been sent to the area to recover the boat and the engine.
The four missing have been identified as Spaniards David Hernandez Gasulla, 29, his wife Martha Miguel, 30, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau resort owner Lam, 44, and his employee Armella Ali Hassan, 23.