30 January, 2017
The boat, carrying 31 people - three Malaysian crew members and 28 Chinese tourists - went missing after it left Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu for Pulau Mengalum at 9am yesterday, the first day of Chinese New Year. The search and rescue operation is ongoing.
"It was reported missing when it did not arrive even 12 hours later and a search-and-rescue operation was launched less than 30 minutes later", said the agency. "This means that the current had pushed them to about 50 to 70 miles from the location where their boat was said to have capsized", said Shahidan.
Three Chinese tourists on board a boat which sank off Malaysia's Sabah state on North Borneo were confirmed dead early Monday after being rescued.
The skipper and one of the crew member was rescued earlier in the day.
Shahidan said search efforts were being intensified, including using surveillance planes that see in the dark.
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The navy, maritime police and air force were involved in the search, which covered 400 nautical miles.
Roughs seas and strong winds hampered rescue efforts on Saturday night and Sunday, authorities said.
Chinese state media says the boat lost contact after leaving Kota Kinabalu on Saturday morning.
The vessel had been carrying as many as 28 Chinese tourists, believed to be on their regular Lunar New Year vacation. "Unfortunately, such a bad thing (missing tourists) happened", she said.
This incident comes about a week after a boat tragedy in the southern Malaysian state of Johor.