According to The Australian, Briton Madeline Jayne, 25, was struck by a passing boat's propeller while diving off a group of popular resort islands in the South China Sea off Peninsular Malaysia's east coast. Additionally, Australian Simon Rogers, 22,who was diving with Jayne was also injured, but survived.
Jayne suffered serious injuries to her lower limbs and torso in the accident early on Monday (May 27) off Pulau Perhentian Kecil and died on the way to hospital.
Rogers was injured in both legs and stomach and was taken to the University Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kubang Kerian, Kelantan, on the mainland.
COMMENT: Initial conclusions by police suggest that the two victims were diving in an area which is off-limits to swimmers and were not wearing inflatable safety jackets as required by local law.
Investigators stated that the incident occurred as boat operator Mohd Azwan Mohamad, 23, was passing through the area to bring tourists to the island resort. According to police, the boat operator was operating lawfully and hit the two divers accidentally.
From a lessons-learned standpoint, foreign divers and swimmers should always ask knowledgeable locals which areas are off-limits to snorkelers and divers. Additionally, even if snorkeling, it is prudent for divers to post a diving flag in the area they are operating in.
The Perhentians are a sprinkling of idyllic islets off northeastern Malaysia popular with tourists because of their beautiful waters and coral reefs.