Search operation for missing Singaporean kayakers widened, Singapore officials on the ground

A search and rescue mission, involving 13 personnel from various agencies, was activated at the Penyabong jetty to search for the missing kayakers.
A search and rescue mission, involving 13 personnel from various agencies, was activated at the Penyabong jetty to search for the missing kayakers.PHOTO: NSTP/COURTESY OF NSTP READER

KUALA LUMPUR/SINGAPORE - Singapore officials are on the ground to provide assistance and close support as the search operations widened on Saturday (Aug 10) for two Singaporeans who have been reported missing while kayaking at the Endau waters in Mersing, Johor.

Identified by Malaysian authorities as Tan Eng Soon, 62, and Puah Geok Tin, 57, the two are believed to have drifted apart from a group of 13 other Singaporeans who were kayaking with them around the Endau islands at about 5.40pm on Thursday (Aug 8).

Based on wind direction and water currents, the search and rescue operations are moving northwards from the site where the two were last seen, Mersing District's Acting Police Chief, Assistant Superintendent Mohd Nor Mohd Isa told The Straits Times on Saturday.

A team of 41 people have been mobilised in the search operation. The authorities have also deployed an aircraft and six boats to look for the missing pair.

According to updates from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), the air search has been expanded to 400 nautical miles north of Pulau Seri Buat to northwest of Pulau Tioman. The sea search on day two covers 150 nautical miles from Tanjung Resang, Mersing to Kuala Rompin, Pahang.

Despite the cloudy weather with light rain, the search and rescue operation proceeded until 7pm on Saturday.

Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency officials say that the Johor Baru marine rescue sub centre was notified of the two missing tourists at about 2.15pm on Friday. A search and rescue team was activated at Penyabong jetty at about 3.30pm on Friday, the Malaysian officials say.

Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Saturday (Aug 10) that the Singapore Consulate-General in Johor Baru has been in close contact with the Malaysian authorities who are coordinating the search operations.

"MFA and the Consulate-General will continue to render consular assistance to the next-of-kin of the missing Singaporeans and support the ongoing search operations," the statement said.