Boat carrying 31 goes missing in Malaysia, several Chinese tourists on board

Posted February 01, 2017

Malaysian authorities expanded the search for four Chinese tourists and a crew member still missing at sea Monday two days after their boat sank off Borneo island.

Three people died, six are missing and almost two dozen were rescued after a catamaran carrying Chinese tourists sank in Malaysian waters, officials said Sunday.

The navy, maritime police and air force were involved in the search, which covered 400 nautical miles.

The boat owner reported it missing on Saturday evening. "Unfortunately, such a bad thing happened", China's consul-general in Sabah, Chen Peijie, was quoted as saying by Malaysia state news agency Bernama.

A catamaran boat with 31 people on board - mostly Chinese tourists - has been reported missing after failing to return from its excursion.

The two are being investigated for causing death by negligence as the search continues for a crew member and 5 passengers still missing.

An official with the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency said the rescuers were being hindered by high winds and choppy waters.

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The incident coincides with the first day of China's week-long Lunar New Year celebration.

Brunei Darussalam has also sent its team, including the use of a S92 helicopter, to help the search in the country's territorial waters.

Chinese state media says the boat lost contact after leaving Kota Kinabalu on Saturday morning.

The bodies of Chinese victims in a boat sinking arrive in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, on January 30, 2017.

The incident, which occurred on 28 January, has claimed the lives of at least three Chinese tourists.

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