Deaths of 3 divers due to blast injuries, confirm Sabah police

Sabah police chief Omar Mammah.

KOTA KINABALU: A postmortem examination on the three divers believed killed in a fish-bombing incident off Semporna last week has confirmed that the trio died of blast injuries, said Sabah police chief Omar Mammah.

Omar said the victims had no major external wounds but suffered massive internal injuries.

Among others, he said, they suffered major abdominal and skull injuries. There was internal bleeding in the lungs and chest cavity.

“They also sustained broken ribs while the aorta (the largest artery in the body) was also torn.

“All had about the same kind of injuries.

“The doctor’s findings were that the injuries were consistent with blast injuries,” he told reporters after an event at the Sabah police contingent headquarters here today.

Omar said the autopsies on diving instructor Ab Zainal Abdu, 30, and Chinese nationals Zhao Zhong, and Xu Yingjie, both 26, were completed earlier today at 5am in Semporna.

Yesterday, Omar had not ruled out the possibility of pre-meditated murder in the deaths of these three divers, initially reported as being the result of an accident involving fish bombs.

When asked if the police have re-classified their case as murder, he said: “That is an assumption for now, but we are looking at this incident from various angles.”

The trio were diving in waters off Pulau Kalapuan, Semporna, when the incident occurred last Friday.

Police had initially picked up the boatman and his assistant, aged 24 and 23, for questioning. They also detained 10 others, including sea gypsies, in connection with the case.