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Video of deadly boat tragedy raises questions

25th August, 2016

KOTA KINABALU: A purported video of a tour boat passing by without helping people drowning in last Sunday’s boat tragedy has surfaced in the social media raising questions on why the boatman closed an eye to help rescue them.

The video, apparently taken by a tourist on the boat showed background sounds of tourists speaking in Chinese saying ‘rescue them! rescue them’ as the boat passed by the place where a fisherman’s boat carrying 10 people had capsized and a headmaster and a teacher had died.

The tourists were clearly disturbed and they were heard asking each other why they were not stopping to help as the boatman continued his journey.

A lady was also seen wiping away her tears while others looked on in alarm amid background sounds of people in distress in the two minute and 50-seconds video.

The video has stirred anger and disbelief among chatters in various WhatsApp groups, with some asking how a person could be so inhumane and look the other way when there were so many people clearly in need of help.

It surprised many others as many a time in the past, it was fishermen or local villagers who came to the immediate rescue of victims including tourists boats that have ran into trouble in the treacherous waters off Pulau Mantanani where numerous cases of capsize and drownings have occurred over the years.

“I don’t know why they did not even bother to immediately act to help the victims,” said one of the WhatsApp users.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Sabah and Labuan regional director, Mohamad Zubil Mat Som said they were aware of the video but were trying to establish the authenticity of the video and the boat concerned.

“We cannot confirm for now that this video was taken during the recent incident at the location,” he said.

He said they will investigate the video and declined to give further comments until they have all the facts right.

It is learnt that the boat operator was aware of the situation in the incident but would not turn back or stop to help as they could not risk their lives of their passengers too.

According to some in the tourist industry, the boatman has been given strict instructions to ensure safety of their tourists at all times which was possibly the reason why the boatman did not stop to help.

They explained that they had been at least three recent incidents where Chinese tourists were left adrift or stranded in choppy waters between Pulau Mantanani and Kota Belud.

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