KUALA TERENGGANU Nov 7- Sixteen people, one of them a four-year-old boy, survived an 18-hour ordeal floating at sea after their boat sank near Pulau Tenggol off Dungun yesterday evening.
The boy, Mohd Danial Aiman Mohd Zulkifli, his mother Noraini Sosilawati, 33, who is four months pregnant, and a man, Badrul Hisham Shariman, 40, are in critical condition, according Marine Operations Force (MOF) Region 3 chief ACP Mohd Saleh Mat Jani.
All 16 of them were rescued by the MOF this morning and brought to the MOF marine base here at about 11am.
They were in a weakened state and suffering from the cold when spotted by searching MOF personnel 16 nautical miles south of the island, said Mohd Saleh.
They were rushed to the Kemaman Hospital, he added.
Mohd Saleh said the skipper managed to inform his employer that the vessel was in trouble before it sank.
The employer immediately conducted a search but summoned the authorities and contacted the police.
Kuala Terengganu Maritime District 9 head of enforcement Captain Adam Salleh said a search-and-rescue team was despatched soon after the MOF received the report.
Besides MOF personnel, 100 officers and personnel of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), fire and rescue personnel as well as Royal Malaysian Navy personnel also took part in the SAR.
"The wind was strong, between 50 and 60 knots, and the sea was rough during the mishap. Fortunately, all of them were wearing their life jackets. The rescue operation also took some time because of the bad weather which reduced visibility,” he said.
Adam advised tourists not to visit the island during the wet season because the wind and sea conditions could be dangerous for small vessels. — Bernama (Utusan Malaysia)