CHUKAI, Terengganu: The search area for missing Singaporean kayaker Tan Eng Soon has been narrowed after the reported sighting of a body with a life jacket strapped to it in Dungun waters on Thursday (Aug 15).
Mr Tan, 62, went missing along with Singaporean Puah Geok Tin, 57, last Thursday. The two were separated from their group while kayaking near the Endau islands.
According to a local fishermen's WhatsApp group, a body with a life jacket strapped on it was spotted 40 nautical miles from the search area, said Kemaman zone maritime director Maritime Commander Rashidilhadi Abd Rashid as the search and rescue operation entered into the eighth day.
“Unfortunately, the body was not tied or marked," he told reporters. "For the time being, we are depending on this information to narrow down the search area."
Friday's search was focused on the waters between Kemanan and Merchang in Marang after the reported sighting.
Ms Puah's body was found on Wednesday in the waters off Kuala Kemaman.
“Today's search involved six boats, four from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, and one each from the Marine Police and the Civil Defence Force," said the maritime commander.
“Although the weather today is better than yesterday’s, the current haze restricted the use of our assets. That is why the search involved maritime assets only."
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The operation will be expanded to Kuala Terengganu on Saturday as remains could have been moved by strong currents, he added.
Mr Tan's oldest child, Liane Tan, who is in Malaysia, said she hoped there would be more leads on her father's whereabouts.
“With the local fishermen’s support, we hope to be able to find more clues. That is all we hope for now," she said.
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Mr Tan's son, Jeremy, on Thursday urged authorities to continue the search for his father.
"So far up to this point, we are very grateful for all the help and support by the MFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), by the Malaysia maritime police department. We hope that in the coming days, they can continue to maintain the search effort as my father is still missing," he had said.