Sunday, January 29, 2017

Malaysia Tourist Boat Missing With 31 People On Board : Search continues for missing boat with 28 Chinese tourists

A boat carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists and three local crew members, has lost contact with authorities since it sailed from Kota Kinabalu (KK) in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah on Saturday, the Consulate General of China in KK said Sunday.

A statement from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the boat, sailed out at 9 am local time on Saturday from Tanjung Aru to Pulau Mengalum, a popular tourist island 60 km west of KK.

The MMEA received a call about the boat's disappearance on Saturday night, and then sent out rescue ships and helicopters for the search and rescue operation.

  • A report from the New Strait Times quoted a Sabah MMEA communications officer as saying that "the search area covers 400 nautical square miles and involves waters between Kota Kinabalu and Pulau Mengalum."

  • It is not clear yet what caused the disappearance of the boat, but an official from the Chinese consulate said that sea conditions were stormy in the area on Saturday.

The rescue team, including eight ships and two aircraft, has not found the missing vessel as of press time, official with the consular protection center of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told the Global Times.

According to the center, the Consul-General of China's consulate general in Kota Kinabalu has expressed great concern and urged the consulate to take all the necessary rescue measures.

The consulate also urged local government to increase the rescue efforts and to pay close attention to the situation.

China is the third-largest source of visitors to Malaysia, the Xinhua News Agency reported in May 2016. Chinese travel agencies reported a sharp drop in the number of Chinese visitors to Malaysia after the disappearance of flight MH370 and several kidnapping cases, including the kidnapping of a Shanghai woman in 2014.

Xinhua-Global Times

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