KUANTAN – The nine crew members of of a patrol boat belonging to Royal Malaysian Navy vessel KD Perdana which drifted in the open sea for 51 hours after losing contact with the mother ship on Saturday afternoon survived on mineral water and thoughts of their loved ones to keep going on.
Their leader, Lieutenant Mohd Hidir Yusof said during in their wilderness, they depended only on the bottled water they had brought to satiate their hunger after the boat ran out of fuel and its communication equipment broke down.
“On the first and second day , the water supply was still sufficient but on the third day, I took the decision to ration water as we were left with only another eight to ten 500 millilitre bottles.
“We only drank three times a day, morning, afternoon and night to prolong our supply. If we were not found in the next few days, I do not know what would have happened,” he said when met by reporters at RMN’s Tanjung Gelang base here today.
Mohd Hidir and the eight crew members of the boat had earlier been received by RMN chief Admiral Tan Sri Ahmad Kamarulzaman Ahmad Badaruddin upon their arrival at the base.
Also present to receive the crew members’ return were RMN’s Maritime Region 1 (MAWILLA 1) commander Rear Admiral Datuk Mohd Redza Mohd Sany as well as family members of the nine crew.
It was a teary scene when the crew members met their loved ones on their safe return.
Relating the incident on Saturday, Mohd Hidir said they were in an operation to chase away 10 foreign fishing boats found intruding into national waters.
“We split up with KD Perdana (the mother ship) as they were chasing five fishing boats while we were assigned to clear the remaining boats. As they were so many fishing boats, we were confused.
“Not long after that, our boat radio broke down and the boat ran out of fuel three hours later causing us to drift into the open sea where fishing boats and merchant ships seldom pass by,” he said
Nonetheless, they were thankful their ordeal was over yesterday evening after the boat was found by a cargo vessel.
Meanwhile, Leading Rate Zulhusni Sherhutdin, 25, said after they ran out fuel, they tried to paddle with their hands when they saw what appeared to be land, believed to be Pulau Aur on the first night.
“But the following day, the island had disappeared and we found ourselves in the middle of the ocean. Then we could only pray for our safety,” he said.
For Zulhusni’s father Sherhutdin Omar, 57, no words could describe his joy on seeing his son alive and he was elated when he received a call informing him that his son had been found yesterday evening.
Sherhutdin expressed his appreciation to the parties involved in the search and rescue operation the past three days to look for the missing crew members. – BERNAMA