At least three Chinese tourists are dead after the tourist boat they were travelling on sank off the coast of Malaysia over the weekend.
The Malaysian tourist boat was carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese nationals and three Malaysian crew members. It departed at around 9 a.m. on Saturday from Kota Kinabalu in Borneo, sailing to the island of Pulau Mengalum some 60km away.
Unfortunately, the boat never made it to the island. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency received a distress call and then lost contact with the boat.
Two of the Malaysian crew members were picked up in nearby waters and notified authorities that their boat had sunk. Local tug boats and fisherman responded, rescuing 23 tourists who had been drifting in the sea. A wider rescue operation is currently ongoing to find the six people still missing, CGTN reports.
According to Xinhua, Shahidan Kassim, a minister in the Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department, told a Sunday night press conference that the skipper of the boat had said that it was broken by strong wave before being wrecked in bad weather and rough seas.
On Sunday, Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded that an all-out search and rescue operation be initiated to help find the missing passengers.
Over the current Spring Festival holiday, 6 million Chinese tourists are expected to travel abroad with Malaysia as their sixth most popular destination. Kota Kinabalu is the capital of the Sabah state on Borneo island and is a major tourist destination.
[Images via ChinaNews]
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