They had then taken the boat to collect fresh cylinders, and returned to the dive-site an hour later after the divers had failed to show up at the jetty.
They reported seeing bubbles at the surface and numbers of dead fish, and in the clear water were able to see the divers immobile at the bottom, at a depth of 6m. Other divers were called in to go to their assistance.
When the divers’ bodies were recovered they were reported to be unmarked but their mask lenses to have cracked. Post-mortem examinations were being carried out.
One or more fishing-boats were said to have been in the vicinity at the time, although witnesses on two other dive-boats anchored near the jetty reported hearing no detonations. It was not reported whether the divers had been using an SMB.
Following the fatal incident Sabah Tourism, Culture & Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew called for stricter sentences to be imposed on anyone found guilty of blast-fishing activities, an ongoing issue in the region.
Perpetrators were said to use home-made fish-bombs made of bottled fertiliser-paraffin mixtures.