LANGKAWI, July 26 — Twenty-four migrants, believed to be Rohingyas, are feared to have drowned off the west coast of the island last night, according to a migrant who claimed to be a survivor.
Kedah and Perlis Maritime Director First Admiral Mohd Zawawi Abdullah said the agency acted after receiving information that an illegal migrant and 24 others had jumped off a boat at about 8 pm.
Details are sketchy, however, as to why they decided to abandon the vessel.
Mohd Zawawi said the sole survivor, named as Nor Hossain, 27, told police he was the only one among the group who swam safely to shore.
“The Langkawi Maritime Rescue Sub-Coordinator (MRSC) dispatched the Pelindung 2 boat to the scene after being informed of a police report on the matter at about 10.30 pm.
“The ‘CARILAMAT’ operation continued today, involving the KM Gagah and Pelindung 2 vessel and an Augusta Westland AW 139 helicopter, covering a 109-mile search sector around Langkawi’s west coast,” he said in a statement here today.
Mohd Zawawi said Kedah and Perlis Maritime have channelled details of the incident to other rescue agencies, local fishermen and the Thai authorities via the Maritime Rescue Coordinator Centre (MRCC) in Putrajaya.
“The maritime community can share any information through the 999 hotline or via the Kedah and Perlis Maritime Operations Centre (Langkawi) at 04-9662750 or 04-966 5307,” he said.
Mohd Zawawi said Nor Hossain is currently under police custody for further investigations.