KAPIT: A mother drowned while her 15-year-old daughter went missing when the longboat they were travelling in overturned near Bletih wharf at Kapit waterfront.
Ngui Mui Fung, 36, and her daughter Hoo Yee Ping were heading from Sungai Goh, Batang Rajang to Kapit town yesterday along with three other family members, when a strong wave caused by a nearby tongkang resulted in the longboat overturning.
Ngui’s 14-year-old son, 13-year-old daughter, and a male relative who was driving the longboat managed to swim to the safety of the riverbank about 50 metres away.
The family from Bintangor had spent a month with Ngui’s parents and were on their way home when the incident happened around 6.50am.
Witness Sibat Unban, who was travelling in his own longboat behind the ill-fated boat, told police he saw the mishap occur and managed to grab hold of Ngui, who was struggling in the water.
He brought her to the riverbank and she was later sent to Kapit Hospital.
However, the hospital pronounced her dead when she arrived at 8.05am.
Hoo, meanwhile, had disappeared in the fast running current.
Despite efforts from relatives, the Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) as well as police personnel to comb the area, there was no sign of her as of press time.
According to Ngui’s elder brother Koach Ming, who arrived here later to help with the search, Ngui was the fifth of 11 siblings.
“We come from a very poor family and we stay at Sungai Goh about 15 minutes’ longboat journey from Kapit town,” he said.
Koach Ming said Ngui’s husband had died in a fatal logging camp accident five years ago.
“She and her three children stayed at Bintangor where they were farmers cultivating pepper and tapping rubber for survival. Coming from a poor family, I hope the community here would lend them a helping hand in the aftermath of the mishap,” he added.
Bomba officer-in-charge Alimat Sam said four personnel from the department and one from the Sarawak Rivers Board were involved in the search and rescue operation.
The mishap occurred just 15 minutes by boat from Kapit town.