Quickly probe accident, govt urged

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SIBU: The Democratic Action Party (DAP) here has expressed deep sorrows and regret over last Sunday’s boat accident at Sungai Kakus, Ulu Tatau.

Four passengers died and at least 20 others are still missing.

Oscar Ling (special assistant to Sibu MP Richard Wong Ho Leng) described the accident as most unfortunate.

“The government should immediately probe into the cause and prevent similar future accidents,” he said at a press conference yesterday morning.

In the 2.30pm accident, the boat was said to be negotiating a bend near Kelebu timber camp and rammed into a steel cable used to tow a barge.

Ling believed that more lives could have been saved if proper rescue efforts were immediately carried out.

“If we had a group of professionals who could spring into action immediately, the death toll might have been lower,” he said, adding that too much time was wasted on Sunday.

He said it was not enough to depend solely on the timber camp workers to do the rescue work as they did not have the expertise or the experience to operate in such a situation.

He, therefore, suggested that the government set up teams of professional rescuers, especially considering that many people in Sarawak still travel along rivers.

On the pollution of Tatau River as alleged by some of the rescued passengers, Ling said the matter also warranted urgent probe by the government.

He said the polluted river could have also hampered the rescue efforts.