Boat with 31 people, mostly Chinese tourists, missing in Malaysia

Malaysia: Boat carrying 31 people goes missing off Borneo coast

Malaysian authorities said the catamaran was headed towards the Mengalum island from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the country's Sabah state.

More than two dozen people have been rescued a day after a boat carrying Chinese tourists sank in Malaysian waters.

About 100 officers from the agency, the navy and the air force were involved, as well as a C-130 aircraft.

The owner had breached procedures, including overloading the boat, Sabah state Police Commissioner Ramli Din was quoted as saying by national news agency Bernama.

On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded that an all-out search and rescue operation be initiated to help find the missing passengers.

Many Chinese travel overseas during the Lunar New Year holiday, which began Saturday.




Ships and aircraft are now searching 2,400 square nautical miles of sea but have been slowed down by strong winds and rough waters.

Malaysia deployed search and rescue ships and helicopters after receiving a call Saturday night about the boat's disappearance, Xinhua reported.

He said the police believed the catamaran sank at about 10am on Saturday after encountering rough seas on the way to the island.

Most of the 239 people on board were Chinese and Malaysian authorities were fiercely criticised for allegedly giving little or inaccurate information about the incident.

Two crew members managed to make their way to land to seek assistance, Malaysian officials said.

"I take the Sabah boat capsize tragedy very seriously, and I want a thorough investigation to identify the cause of the incident", he wrote yesterday.

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