13 Malaysian soldiers missing after boat sinks

13 Malaysian soldiers missing after boat sinks
On the lookout: Officers combing the coastal waters during the search-and-rescue operation in Klebang Besar.

MALACCA - Thirteen army personnel are missing after the boat they were travelling in sank near the waters of Klebang Besar.

It is believed that the men were part of a group of 49 personnel involved in basic commando training at sea when their boat capsized during a rainstorm at about 9pm on Saturday. The group had started their training five hours earlier.

Members in the training session only realised that the men were missing after only four of the five boats with the personnel aboard made it to Pulau Upih, about 2km from the coast at around midnight.

"There were 11 personnel from the Special Warfare Training Centre (Pulpak) at the Sungai Udang camp onboard the missing assault boat and their two trainers.

"Five assault boats left Pulpak at around 7.16am and headed to Pulau Upih but only four made it to the island at around midnight," said a Defence Ministry spokesman, adding that search-and-rescue efforts were currently under way.

The state Fire and Rescue Depart­ment had dispatched several fire engines and all officers from its diver unit to comb the coastal waters in a search-and-rescue operation since 5pm yesterday.

The army had also set up an emergency response booth near the Da­­taran 1Malaysia reclaimed beach while an ambulance was spotted nearby. As of 9pm, no survivors or bodies had been found.

On Nov 15, a policeman had drowned after a boat carrying six General Operations Force personnel capsized during the filming of a documentary off the Sarawak coast.

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