Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I'm back... luckily!

Bites Tale : I am really blessed, really...

Speedboat overturns but 22 (including tourists) safe
18 December, 2007

Sandakan: Twenty-two people, including 10 foreign tourists, were plucked from sea after the speedboat they were riding overturned near Pamaguan Island, about a 20-minute boatride from here, Sunday.

It was learnt the vessel was heading towards Sandakan from Selingan Island when the mishap occurred at about 7.50am.

The boat overturned after the boatman swerved to avoid hitting a log, resulting all the passengers being thrown overboard.

The passengers and the boatman were rescued by passing fishing trawlers, about 30 minutes later.

Some of the tourists claimed they lost all their belongings including passports, cameras and cash while giving their statements at the downtown police station the same day.

The tourists comprised six Britons, including three women, two New Zealenders and two Australians. The locals included three Public Works Department staff and a ranger, among others.

The tourists, aged between 22 and 57, left for Kuala Lumpur on an AirAsia flight at 5.10pm, shortly after giving their statements.


I was one of the local tourist and our journey ends after that incident (we were suppose to drive back to KK from Sandakan and stopped by Mesilau for 1 nite before we reached KK)... we flew back to KK that evening.

It was a very frightening experience as i am a non-swimmer.

But 1st, the fact is... the boat overturned after 20 minutes when its on its way from Selingan Island to Sandakan (we need 1 hour speedboat ride in very fast speed to reach Selingan Island from Sandakan on the day before). The mishap happened on 7.40am instead of 7.50am. After we were rescued, it took us approximately 1 hour and 40 mins ride back to Sandakan by the fishermen's boat. We were not sure whether or not the boat overturned because the boatman is trying to avoid a log... but the boat was very fast and it might be overloaded... as the boat operator told us the maximum no. of people to get on the boat is 18, but there were 22 of us that day.

I am not sure why the boat has overturned as i was too tired due to lack of sleep because we waited till 4.30am for the turtle to come up to the beach to lay eggs. When the boat overturned, i was closing my eyes. I opened my eyes when i heard my friends screamed... that's when i saw the boat went "off-tracked"... and i fell into the sea..

That's was scary!

I can't remember clearly what happened next.. but remember i saw water covering me and i swallowed lots of sea water while struggling... after that, i can't recalled what happened.

Next, when i opened my eyes, i was stucked under the overturned boat.. and i don't know which part of the boat i'm at.. all i could smelled was gasoline... luckily there was a small space where i can breathe.. it was then, i heard a lady asked (i can't see her from where i am): " Are you okay?"... i replied: "I'm... scared... i don't... know... how to... swim..." and she said (while holding my hand): "Don't worry, i'll be here with you.. i'm sure someone will come and save us!"

Then.. not long after, she said: " Some one is pulling my leg.. i think they are coming for us." I said (while trying to breathe): "Please help me.." Next, i felt someone is pulling my leg too.. and i fell deeper into the water (without knowing what to do, i just hold my breathe, closed my lips tightly and closed my eyes)... soon i am on the surface.. but no one was beside me..

I saw the boat.. which was unreacheable from where i am.. i saw a foreigner (man) in front of me and i asked him for help.. but he ignored me.. i cried and begged him to help me because i don't know how to swim but he told me no because he scared i will pulled him down.. (without realising i am actually floating with the aid of the life jacket as i was too panic and scared at that time) i tried to grab anywhere i can.. his hand, his shirt... while he swam away.. until i heard my friends calling out my name... i think he heard it too.. so he swam towards them and they grabbed me and pushed me up to the overturned boat.

I was really panic and keep on crying... i was having my period too.. i felt so weak.. i can't even balance my body to lie properly on the back of the boat and can't hold the boat tightly as the surface was too slippery due to fungus... and kept sliding down into the water but my friends each grabbed hold of my foot.

It was scary when we finally can looked around and only realised that there were no sight of any boat nearby that can help us.. luckily, one of my friend remembered there's a whistle in the pocket of the jacket... that's how a fisherman's boat came but it was too small.. as it can only fit 3 person... they told us they will seek for help.. that's how the big fishermen's boat came.

Luckily, all of us are alive...i got some injury on my neck (retrolisthesis of C4 over C5) which now i must stopped maintaining a certain posture for too long.. e.g. i need to rest every 15 minutes looking at the computer / reading... chest and ribs aching, muscle pain and felt some pain on my head. But, I can't remember how i got them.. according to the lady, she thought i was unconscious as she has been calling me a few times.. but i gave no response at all and i was not moving..

I'm really thankful to her.. Madam Susan Collins from New Zealand.. thanks for being there when i was really scared.. it really meant alot to me... being so helpless and scared at that time and not knowing what to do... her presence was like a guardian angel... thanks to the man who swam towards my friends and also another tourist (man) who helped me to get on to the fishermen's boat. I just couldn't thank you enough.

The accident was on Sunday, and my birthday was on Monday... at the time i fell into the sea, i thought.. i won't be able to celebrate my next birthday... according to my friends i "dissappeared" for 10 mins... they thought they had lossed me...
they were so panic and when they saw me they cried... according to our guide, i'm the last one who came out to the sea surface... i'm lucky that i survived... we hugged each other and cried when we were rescued.. it was really scary... i am having nightmares these few nights... i keep "seeing" what happened even during the day times... although my birthday was mostly spent in the hospital.. but it was really great to be home.

I am really thankful to all... and to God. And although physically i feel so weak now, but i feel great being alive and able to be together with all my loved ones!


22 comments:

Shemah said...

That must've scared the bejeezus out of you! I'm pretty speechless here.. just reading your encounter shook ME up!

Goodness gracious!! Thank God you're fine and doing well.. I'm a non-swimmer myself and living in Sabah all my life but never been to the islands..

Welcome back! Get plenty of rest.. Glad that you're back.. and may you and your family have a Merry Christmas.

meatball online said...

thank you shemah! yes... body aching terribly now.. i'm glad all of us survive! may you and your family have a merry christmas too!

Clement said...

Thank God you were conscious when the woman (Susan) calling you... Thank God you were not knocked down by anything or anywhere.

Your news really shocked me up whole night immediately after reading your sister's Blog posting.

Am still in shocked until I forget to wish you HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY... You need more rest my dear... Need help? I still be around till weekend.

Sue Sue said...

OMG, luckily you are OK. How does this happen? Take a good rest at home and don't think so much d.

meatball online said...

clement, thank you for bringing me to hospital yesterday. everyone was telling me how lucky i am.. they couldn't imagine what will happen if i keep staying unconcious or if i wasn't being float to a space where i could breathe when i was stucked underneath the overturned boat.. some said it was lucky for me to stuck underneath the boat because i might have been carried away by the wave when i was unconcious.. they said god is watching over me and sent his guardian angel to help me.. i just can't thank you to all enough.. i hope i can visit u and ur mum before u leave to KL.

sue, yes, will rest more and do more physio to get well soon! thanks! glad that i am alive!

osindak said...

OMG!! What a scary experience! Thank God you're ok. Big hugs... Take good care, have plenty of rest and I'll be praying for you! Blessed Christmas...

meatball online said...

thank you, osindak! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Creamster said...

You're so lucky my dear. Hope you're ok now.

Wishing you a blessing x'mas!

sting said...

Oh my!! you are so lucky... am so happy to hear you all managed to escape unharmed.. what an experience.. take good care ya :-)

applesamanthalee said...

oh my... ahmoi, welcome back!!

Jiejah said...

I really speechless when read your story..Very scary..Thank God you're ok..

Get enough rest ya..

levian said...

oh gosh .. what an experience !! welcome back !! *hugs* nothing says better than a hug. ;)

Wendy said...

Hey..glad that you're alright...

Sweetiepie said...

Welcome back!That's really a scary experience..Are you ok!Here I wish you a merry christmas and a happy new year.:)

♫╬ChLoE TiFfaNY╬♪ - Always Be Ur Angel said...

angels be with you dear sis.. muaks! Thanks God..

Abner said...

Here's my belated birthday and merry xmas wishes. Hope you get well soon too bebola daging. Update us here ok? Get more rest.

Denise said...

oh dear !
my tears all come out when I read ur article ! Girl you're really brave ! & everyone love u here ; )

cheesecakeerian said...

Omigod... Glad to know you're okay!!!! =O

On another note.. Happy New Year babe...

Namor (www.ravejoint.com) said...

Man, that sounds like a really really scary experience. Good thing got life jackets lah.. else... gg liow..

Anyway glad u're safe

paulinevoon said...

what an experience.. thank God all's over!

jam said...

It's a really scary experience indeed. Luckily, no one is badly hurt. Take care!

meatball online said...

thanks for all of your wishes... i'm glad i've friends like you all who care.. will take good care of myself! Life is too short! i'll make more time for my family and loved ones.. that's a promise!

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