Monday, December 27, 2010

4th Singaporean found dead in Malaysia boat mishap

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Searchers recovered the body of a fourth Singaporean tourist and were searching for one more missing in Malaysian waters after an overloaded passenger boat capsized near a resort island, police said Monday.

The wooden boat had been transporting 29 people — more than twice its recommended capacity — to a mainland port Sunday after leaving Malaysia's southern Sibu island, one of the diving zones closest to neighboring Singapore.

It capsized after being struck by strong waves, district police chief Mohamad Nor Rashid said. The passengers were not wearing life jackets.

"One minute we were enjoying the holiday and the next we were struggling for our lives when the boat capsized," Lim Tai Wee, one of nearly 20 Singaporeans aboard, told The Star newspaper. "It was very windy and the waves were hitting the boat hard."

By midday Monday, rescuers had recovered the bodies of three Singaporean men and a woman, and were looking for one more missing, Mohamad Nor said. He added that police had detained the boat's Malaysian skipper for questioning.

It was Malaysia's second major transportation accident involving foreigners in less than a week. A bus crashed on a winding road while returning from a central hill resort on Dec. 20, killing 28 people, mostly from Thailand. — AP

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