KOTA KINABALU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Two Chinese tourists and their Malaysian divemaster were believed to be killed by fish bombs while diving in waters off Semporna in Sabah's east coast on Friday (July 5).
Tourism operators are blaming fish bombing activities for their deaths, but police have yet to confirm the cause of deaths.
It is learnt that prior to the 5pm incident, a local Semporna divemaster had taken the two male Chinese tourists for their dive.
Witnesses said there were several fishing boats operated by sea gypsies near the site where the three divers were killed.
Sabah Police Commissioner Omar Mammah said they were investigating the incident.
"From some of the witnesses we spoke to, we learnt that there were fishing boats near the location, but no one actually heard the fish bombs going off," he said.
The police were also verifying the identities of the victims, he added.
China's Deputy Consul General in Kota Kinabalu, Mr Zhang He, confirmed two Chinese nationals died in the incident.
Sabah Association of Tour and Travel Agents president, Datuk Winston Liaw, condemned fishermen for using fish bombs in their operations and urged the authorities to take immediate action against the offenders.
"Take action that will serve as a lesson to all. Otherwise, they will keep on doing the same thing," he said.
He also urged all professional divemasters and tourists to be alert, and not to dive close to fishermen's boats or boat propellers, which are also dangerous.