Hornbill Unleashed

July 21, 2012

Chopper crashes into river mouth *latest! Updated!

Filed under: Alternatives,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 6:45 AM
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Borneo Post online

EUROCOPTER EC 120: This is the model of the helicopter that crashed into Sungai Teriso estuary yesterday. — Bernama photo

A private helicopter carrying three passengers to Nanga Merit Kapit Division crashed into Sungai Teriso estuary near Sebuyau 150 km from here at about 9.30am yesterday.

The German pilot Rico Steger, 35, managed to get out from the wreckage and swam for a few hours before reaching Kampung Tebelu, Sebuyau, clad only in boxer shorts shortly past noon.

State police chief Datuk Acryl Sani Abdullah Sani, confirming the incident, said a group of fishermen rescued the pilot at the river estuary and brought him to Kampung Tebelu.

The passengers identified as Peter Ato Mayau, 53, Siti Khuzaima and Henry Loh were still missing when the search and rescue operations were called off at 7pm yesterday.

The press could not interview Rico as he was driven away from Sebuyau Police Station to join an aerial search to pinpoint the location of the crash.

The search-and-rescue team comprising personnel from Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), Civil Defence Department and Malaysian Marine Enforcement Agency (MMEA) had not located the wreckage at press time.

According to Sri Aman district police chief DSP Mat Jusoh Mohamad, the operations would resume this morning.

The Eurocopter EC120 helicopter, belonging to Sebiro Holdings, apparently encountered technical difficulties and was flying in bad weather.

Family members of Peter rushed to Sebuyau after learning about the incident.

His wife Agnes Batang said she sent her husband to Sebiro’s office at 8am, had expressed her concern about the inclement weather to him but he still decided to go along.

She said she last called Peter at 8.30am as he was getting ready to board the helicopter. At 2pm, she received the call informing her of the crash.

They have three children, the eldest son is 25 years old and two daughters aged 20 and 18.

Peter, employed by Sebiro, is the PKR Sarawak vice-chairman. In last year’s state election, he contested under PKR ticket in Tarat but lost. He was said to be among the possible Pakatan Rakyat candidates in Mambong in the coming election.

Meanwhile, Sebiro owner Dato Sng Chee Hua yesterday confirmed there were two engineers and a quantity surveyor aboard the helicopter and that they were flying to Nanga Merit to look at a school project.

He said he was saddened by the unfortunate incident and disappointed with Hornbill Skyways for declining his request to join in the search-and-rescue mission.

When news of the crash broke out, rumours were rife that Sng and his son Larry Sng were on board the helicopter.

Larry who is also president of Sarawak Workers Party, quashed the speculations by posting on his Facebook account updates of the incident.

Yesterday News 20 July

German pilot survives heli crash

A private-owned helicopter belonging to Sebiro crashed into the Sungai Tereso near Simunjan some 150km from Kuching this morning at about 9.20am.

Thirty-five-year old German pilot Rko Steger managed to get out from the helicopter. He swam for four hours in strong water currents before being rescued by local fishermen and taken to Kampung Tebeluk in Sebuyau.

A search and rescue team has been despatched to the area to find the three passengers believed to be engineers. They were found to have survived the impact.

They were earlier on their way to Nanga Merit in Belaga District.

An official from the Department of Civil Aviation who spoke on condition of anonymity said all four were traveling on a US- registered helicopter based in Kuching.


  1. Check this out and leave your comments and we will forward it http://audie61.wordpress.com/2012/07/21/peter-ato-rip-1959-2012/

    Comment by audie61 — July 21, 2012 @ 10:46 PM | Reply

  2. Unfortunate lost of lives indeed but lifes like that. We are here today and gone tomorrow leaving loved ones to deal with the pain. Lets hope the owners of Sabiro Holdings who wish to be the champion of the people will do whatever they can to ease the pains these families are going through.

    May i add,this is probably a bad omen to those fake dayaks in SNG Sweep-Arse Party?

    Comment by Brian — July 21, 2012 @ 12:27 PM | Reply

  3. The power of Miring kah

    ‘Miring ceremony’ related to logjam changed to Nov 17
    The Borneo Post, November 13, 2010, Saturday

    KUCHING: A grand ‘miring’ ceremony to be held at Muara Sungai Meratai, Baleh, scheduled for early December, to appease the spirits whose anger was believed to have caused the logjam along the Baleh and Rejang rivers on Oct 7, has been brought forward to Nov 17.

    Kapit Resident Dahim Nadot said some 40 boatloads of people, numbering between 200 and 300 people will participate in the ceremony.

    “The ‘miring’ ceremony will be led by selected elders who are experts in Iban tradition,” Dahim told The Borneo Post here yesterday.

    Among the invited guests are Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Masing, Deputy Minister of Land and Regional Development Datuk Joseph Entulu Belaun, Assistant Minister of Environment and Health John Sikie Tayai and Hulu Rejang MP Datuk Billy Abit Joo.

    Among others, the miring will involve the sacrifice of two pigs on the morning of Nov 17 (Wednesday) and not Nov 10 as earlier planned, due to transport problems.

    The ceremony will involve all the 200 longhouse chiefs living along Sungai Baleh.

    Masing stressed that such ceremony must be held not only to appease the gods but to appease the Ibans living along Sungai Baleh.

    Muja Menua… appeasing the angry gods
    By Peter Sibon, The Borneo Post, Sunday 5 December 2010

    IN 1924 a Muja Menua miring ceremony was held to mark the end of hostilities between the Kayans and Kenyahs and the Ibans in the upper reaches of the Rajang.

    The hostilities was a result of the tribes literally colliding into each other as the Kayans and Kenyahs move downstream from the headwaters of the Rejang and Baleh towards Kapit while the Ibans spread upstream from Kapit.

    The peace treaty was brokered by one of the more colourful officers of the Brooke reign, Gerald MacBryan and cleverly enforced by the holding of the Muja Menua miring in November that year.

    In the Iban tradition the Muja Menua is the highest level of miring, the ceremonial prayers and rituals to appease the spirits and gods for sins committed against humanity and nature.

    Such is the level of Muja Menua that it was never held again until this year and coincidentally also in the month of November and in the upper reaches of the same river — the Rajang.

    However, the Muja Menua held on Nov 17 this year was not to cement a peace treaty but to seek forgiveness and appease the gods for the ravages wreaked on the environment by the people through logging and other activities.

    Apparently the devastation of the environment in the headwaters areas of the Baleh which is a tributary of the Rajang had so angered the spirits of the forests and mountains that they brought on massive landslides that caused logs, branches and other debris tumbling into the river resulting in the most massive logjam ever seen in Sarawak.

    On Oct 17 the people living along the Baleh and Rejang were flabbergasted by the sight the mighty rivers choked a solid mass of logs, trees and branches floating down stream like Nabau the Iban mythical serpent — some estimated the logjam to be 250 kilometres long.

    Although the cost of the physical damages caused by the floating logs was small, the environmental damage was massive and unlikely to be fully gauged. Fish, prawns and other aquatic life in the rivers were suffocated by the silt and mud churned up by the logs.

    Although the river folk had a field day picking up dying fish and prawns in the river, their hearts were filled with misgivings and fear for the future.

    The Ibans in Baleh have expressed their fear and believed that the reason behind the massive debris along the Baleh/Rejang Rivers was the wrath of the gods who were angry with the loggers as the tractors and bulldozers have damaged their abode at Ulu Sg Melatai.

    For some, they believed that the indiscriminate pollution at the domains of the spirits of the rivers, jungles and mountains at Ulu Sg Melatai have caused the gods to move out from their domains and caused the massive movement that resulted in the massive debris being washed down the rivers.

    During a meeting with 12 Iban village chiefs held at Rumah Tujai, Ng Sebiro, Entawau, Baleh on Oct12, they have told Dato Sri Dr James Masing, the Minister of Land Development that a grand miring ceremony must be held to appease the spirits as soon as possible.

    Masing had said then that he would have to discuss the matter with the Majlis Adat Istiadat the kind of miring ceremony that would be most appropriate to appease the deities, and more so, the wrath of the local people.

    “The ceremony will hopefully appease the gods as well as the local people. At this stage, they only blamed the loggers but we must stopped their anger otherwise they vent it out at the government.

    “My top priority now is not only to appease the people but also the gods whose wraths could worsen the already tense situation,” Masing told thesundaypost after meeting.

    For the Ibans in Baleh their wrath was justified as their livelihood had been devastated by the logjam causing a complete lost of fish and animals from their jungles which they claimed as their ‘supermarket’.

    “But we are very angry with the loggers because the ‘Baleh Tsunami’ or logjam is caused by them. They have made the abode of the gods too noisy with their tractors and other heavy machineries which made the gods to get angry and shake the forest and resulted in the devastation,” said Tuai Rumah Sebaung, Ng Melamah, Baleh.

    They said the disrespectful ways of the loggers to nature have created an enmity between them and the local people.

    Masing, himself a Christian, who earned his PhD in anthropology through his research on Iban studies stressed that the miring ceremony was not against the Christian teachings as it is part and parcel of the Iban’s culture and tradition.

    “Miring is part of the socio-religious fabric of the Iban community. So there is no reason to think that the miring ceremony is diminishing among the community,” stressed Masing.

    It was determined the landslides occurred at Ulu Sg. Malatai, which is a tributary of the Baleh.

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — July 21, 2012 @ 9:25 AM | Reply


      Masing is exposing himself as a real hypocrite by riding on the backs of the people to gain popularity…

      Comment by anon — July 21, 2012 @ 9:46 AM | Reply

      • Maybe all the Gods must be angry with everyone ! It’s war lah !

        Masing is not exposing…he’s flaunting, showing and dancing it ! Looks like belly dancing some more! 🙄

        Comment by watcha — July 21, 2012 @ 12:16 PM | Reply

  4. Deepest condolence to family members who lost their love ones in this unfortunate accident.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — July 21, 2012 @ 8:14 AM | Reply

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