A BRITISH holidaymaker has died in Malaysia after being struck by the propeller of a motorboat while snorkelling.
Madaline Cole suffered extensive injuries following the incident off the resort in the Perhentian archipelago, about 15 miles off Malaysia’s east coast.
The 25-year-old had been swimming in the South China Sea with a friend when she was hit by the boat’s propeller, said state news agency, Bernama.
Police said she died while being taken for treatment by the boat operator, but suggested her party may have been snorkeling in a restricted area.
The accident occurred off Pulau Perhentian Island in Terengganu state on Monday, the Foreign Office said yesterday.
Ms Cole, from Hereford, sustained serious injuries to her legs and torso. It is understood she was an experienced diver, and had previously been an intern working with white sharks for the Marine Conservation Society in the Seychelles.
She had been on holiday in Malaysia since the beginning of April, and was snorkelling with Simon Rogers, a 22-year-old Australian, as part of a larger group of divers on a morning excursion on a snorkelling course.
Mr Rogers was also hurt in the incident, which happened at around 10:20am, but his injuries were not thought to be life-threatening. He was taken to a district hospital before being transferred to the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in Kelantan, north-east Malaysia.
Kamaruddin Mohammed Zakaria, a chief superintendent with Besut police, said the incident occurred as Mohammed Azwan Mohamad, a 23-year-old boat operator, was taking tourists to the resort. Police in Kuala Lumpur said it was thought the pair were struck by the propellers as they surfaced. Superintendent Jamshah Mustafa added: “From our initial findings, the incident happened in an area off-limits to swimmers.”
Ch Supt Zakaria added: “The two victims and two other friends were diving outside the safe zone and were not wearing safety jackets. They were accidentally hit by Mohammed Azwan.”
Charlotte Cheong, an instructor and manager at Universal Diver, a firm based on the Perhentian islands, told The Scotsman more had to be done to let visitors know the risks.
She said: “Diving is relatively safe here but the marine parks should do whatever is necessary to provide more information for tourists before they come.”
Ms Cole arrived in Malaysia on 4 April, and had been staying at the Senja Bay Resort.
A Foreign Office spokesman said: “We are aware of the death of a British national in Malaysia on 27 May. We are providing assistance to the family.”
In July 2004, Joanna Stillwell, 23, who was on a family holiday, in Malaysia was killed when she was struck by a dive boat while swimming with her brother Nicholas, 18. He was uninjured.
Earlier this month, Sky executive Nicholas Milligan, 51, and his eight-year-old daughter Emily were killed after being thrown from his speedboat off Padstow, Cornwall and being struck by its propeller.
His wife Victoria, 41, and son Kit, four, suffered life-changing injuries. Their daughters Amber, 12, and Olivia, ten, were also injured in the incident.