Living in a safe urban place like S’pore is reassuring to a lot of people, but because of our safety, we sometimes assume that being safe is the default state.
Sometimes that may make us be a bit careless or seek more dangerous thrills outside our safe haven.
Two Singaporean kayakers, Tan Eng Soon and Puah Geok Tin (their reported age ranged from 52 to 64 for some reason) took advantage of the long weekend for National Days + Hari Raya Haji to go kayaking in Mersing, Johor and subsequently went missing at the Endau waters.
So, what happened?
Drifted from a group of 13 other S’poreans
They weren’t alone in this kayaking trip, and were kayaking with 13 other S’porean, who all started this kayaking trip from Penyabong jetty at about 10:00 a.m. on 8 Aug 2019.
After stopping at Teluk Resang for lunch, they headed to Mertang Island.
At about 5.40 p.m., they were around the Endau Islands, in between Pulau Sri Buat and Pulau Mertang.
It is believed that they separated because of the turbulent sea and strong winds. They were on bright green coloured kayaks.
Rescue Operation Ongoing
A police report was lodged about 10.30 a.m. 9 Aug 2019 when the group’s own search failed, and the Johor Baru marine rescue sub-centre (MRSC) was notified about them at about 2.15 p.m. later. A search and rescue team got activated at Penyabong jetty at about 3.30 p.m.
A helicopter and 6 boats were deployed in a search that covers 150 nautical miles from Tanjung Resang to Kuala Rompin for the sea, and 400 nautical miles north of Pulau Seri Buat to northwest of Pulau Tioman for aerial, according to a Twitter update on 10 Aug 2019.
Three more vessels have joined the search & rescue operation meanwhile aerial search has expanded to 400 nautical miles north of Pulau Seri Buat to northwest of Tioman island : MMEA https://t.co/Coxru5bZTb
— Melissa Goh (@MelGohCNA) August 10, 2019
Singapore authorities are working closely with the Malaysian authorities, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A team from their Consulate-General is currently providing assistance and close support for the operation.
The Two Are Unrelated
Before the trip, the two actually didn’t know each other but were paired on the same kayak.
Shin Min Daily News spoke to Pang Wenjie, 59, Madam Puah’s husband who is a retiree.
Madam Puah is a businesswoman who owns a business providing swimming lessons. They have two adult children in their 20s. Their elder daughter works in Australia, while their younger son participated in the NDP on Friday. The son later joined his father in Malaysia awaiting news for the operation.
Mr Tan’s family was also near the Penyabong jetty, but were unwilling to be interviewed.
Madam Pang was Dragon Boater on National Team, planned 5D4N Trip
According to her husband, Madam Pang was part of the national team for Dragon Boating, and was active in kayaking and other water-related sports for more than 30 years. She was also active in other sports like cycling and badminton.
Like Madam Pang, the rest of the group were experienced kayakers who practised for two to three weeks before heading off for this trip.
The original plan for the group was to island-hop in this 5D4N trip, including Mensirip Isles, Boar Isles, Mystery Isles and Pirate Cove. But unlike their previous activities, there would be no telecommunication signals, water source or rations on this trip.
As Madam Pang had already told her family about the no signal trip, they did not think anything went wrong until they were contacted about her disappearance.
We can remain hopeful
Both of them were wearing life vests on the kayak, and it is unlikely for the kayak to sink into the water.
I’m optimistic that they would be found soon.
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