SRI AMAN – The search and rescue operation today to locate the sixth and last victim in the helicopter tragedy at Batang Lupar is being facilitated with the use of drones.
Still missing is the pilot, Capt Rudolf Rex Ragas, a Filipino.
Two ‘Dron mers999’ operators from Telekom Malaysia have been specially flown in from Kuala Lumpur.
One of them, Shaiful Zamri Masri, 42, said two UAV models, Phantom 4 and Inspire 1 were to be used in the SAR.
“The drones can fly for 20 minutes over an area of five kilometres at a height of 122 metres.
“The drones will take photographs and record videos. If we find anything on the target, we will alert the SAR operations centre. Every date will be shared with the team,” he said at the SAR operations centre in Lingga.
Shaiful Zamri who has had some experience in SAR, during the earthquake in Sabah last year, will manage the UAVs with colleague Muhamad Afiq Sadali.
Meanwhile, Kampung Siantan, Lingga village chief Wan Amit Wan Kamil, 57, said he and other residents were glad at being asked to assist in the SAR.
The Sekolah Kebangsaan Lela Pahlawan, Lingga security guard said he found a backpack he thought might have something to do with the incident, while searching around Batang Lupar in his boat.
“I was steering the boat in Selimbang River near Peleban about 7km from the operations centre when I saw a backpack hanging on a ‘pedada’ tree,” he told Bernama.
Wan Amit said he took the bag and brought it to the SAR operations centre.
Meanwhile, the remains of five of the victims in the Eurocopter AS350 that reportedly crashed on Thursday have been sent to their respective states for burial.
The five were Plantation Industries and Commodities Deputy Minister Datuk Noriah Kasnon, her husband Asmuni Abdullah, and her bodyguard Ahmad Sobri Harun.
Two other VIPs in the ill-fated helicopter were Plantation Industries and Commodities secretary-general Datuk Dr Sundaran Annamalai and Kuala Kangsar Member of Parliament Datuk Wan Mohammad Khair-il Anuar Wan Ahmad, who was also Malaysian Palm Oil Board chairman. – BERNAMA