500+ passengers and crew were stranded after a Langkawi ferry ran aground on a mud bank in Malaysia's Kuala Kedah estuary at low tide on Sunday, October 23.
It ran aground at ~03:00 p.m., according to the ferry company’s operations manager, Captain Baharin Baharom.
Efforts were made to remove passengers from the ship, according to the MMEA-Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Kuala Kedah maritime director Noor Azreyanti Ishak said that a medical evacuation had been carried out by MMEA at 05:37 p.m. as several passengers had been experiencing shortness of breath.
MMEA patrol boat was assisted by a number of local fishing boats as only small boats could dock with the ferry in an effort to bring the travelers safely to shore.
Baharin said that the ferry company was awaiting a report from the captain because at the time of the accident, the water had been 1.7 m deep and still safe for navigation.
Image: Pulau Langkawi Island (Malaysia Kedah)
A preliminary assessment had found that many factors could have caused the ferry to run aground, among which, "the ferry not following the original route or that the ferry route was blocked by sea movement at the time.”
According to Kedah fire and rescue department's official, the tide had been expected to turn at 07:00 p.m. with high tide expected at 11:30 p.m. He added the ferry had run aground because of the low tide.