MERSING: Drones are being used in the search and rescue (SAR) operation to locate a private institution of higher learning (IPTS) student, who went hiking in Pulau Mawar, here, and has been missing since Wednesday.

Mersing district police chief Supt Abdul Razak Abdullah Sani said a drone belonging to the Mersing district office was used on the first two days of the SAR operation to locate Muhamad Akmal Hakimi Ishak, 20, whereas a thermal imaging drone belonging to the Malaysian Civil Defence Force was used yesterday.

He said that a drone cannot be used today, the fourth day of the operation, due to bad weather conditions.

"Personnel involved have repeatedly entered Pulau Mawar, comprising an area of about three square kilometres, since the first day (of the SAR operation), in which the initial stage of the operation involved searching in forest and coastal areas.

"In addition, two Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department boats, as well as a marine police boat, were also deployed, apart from increasing the number SAR personnel from 45 to 58 people, covering land, rivers and waterways," he said when contacted, today.

Abdul Razak said there have been no leads thus far and the operation is subject to the weather conditions, as the district has been experiencing rain since yesterday afternoon.

Muhamad Akmal Hakimi's father lodged a missing persons report at the Kluang police station in the early morning of Feb 3, after the youth failed to return home since Feb 1.

Police later received a report that the student's motorcycle had been found, in good condition, in an area near Pulau Mawar at 11.30 am on Friday. The SAR operation was launched at 5 pm on the same day.