Wrong info led to delay in yacht rescue

John and his daughters Reid (left) and Grasso leaving the hospital after claiming Mahoney's body.

ALOR SETAR- Wrong information provided to the maritime authorities on the location of a yacht led to a delay in the rescue operation of late Australian Shelley Elizabeth Mahoney.

Northern Region Maritime Enforcement Agency operation director Kapt Salim Ahmad said after being informed of an accident on board the Utiekah III on June 30, the rescue team had searched for the yacht off Pulau Song Song when it was actually off Pulau Bidan.

"The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) Batu Uban base received a distress call at 3pm. A rescue vessel with five men was rushed to the location from the Kuala Kedah MMEA base at 3.45pm.

"The weather was bad when the MMEA vessel reached Pulau Song Song and when they failed to locate the yacht, they extended their search and found Utiekah III at about 5.20pm off Pulau Bidan," he said yesterday.

Kapt Salim said MMEA followed all standard operation procedures in the rescue operation.

Mahoney, who was out sailing with 70-year-old husband Anthony John, suffered head injuries when she was hit by the yacht's boom while lowering the sails in bad weather.

Kapt Salim said he believed John had called his friends in Penang immediately after the accident occurred at about 12.30pm.

"What transpired from the time the accident occurred until the time MMEA received the information is in question. We are looking into this," he said.