Search continues for missing crew member after yacht explodes off coast of Malaysia

The search for a missing crewmember is still underway off the coast of Penang, Malaysia, after the 31m luxury motor yacht UN1K caught fire and exploded in the early hours of Friday 16th September, according to reports from

The yacht, which was some five hours into her journey from the Royal Yacht Club in Langkawi to Singapore, caught fire approximately 15 nautical miles from Muka Head after experiencing technical problems in her engine room. The fire resulted in an explosion, which forced crew to abandon ship in the darkness. 

A satellite distress signal was sent from the boat to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) at around 12:05am, but Brazilian-born Lucas Bondezan hasn’t been seen since he jumped from the yacht into the sea as she sank at around 01:00am.

Three injured crewmembers were rescued by a Kedah-registered fishing boat, whose crew spotted them drifting on a life raft around 38nm from Juala Kedah some hours later. They were taken to a nearby hospital without life-threatening injuries.

The search for 24-year-old Bondezan, who is believed to be the brother-in-law of the yacht’s owner Pascal Vu Anh-Qua, was reported by The Star to still be underway on Monday 19th September, having been hampered by bad weather. 

MMEA first admiral Tan Kok Kwee reported to the New Straits Times that rough seas and heavy rain have been making the search difficult. 

MMEA commander Azman Samsudin reported that two MMEA vessels, KM Burau and KM Kimanis, were deployed to assist in the search, which was focused within a 10-mile radius of where Bondezan jumped into the sea. 

The owner of the luxury motor yacht has reportedly chartered a helicopter to help in the search for his missing brother-in-law.


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