- A boat carrying 28 Chinese tourists has been reported missing in Malaysia
- The boat left Kota Kinabalu on Saturday morning but failed to arrive at the destination
- The Chinese consulate in Sabah has urged the Malaysian government to step up the search effort
A boat carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, has been reported missing in Malaysia, Chinese authorities said on Sunday, January 29.
The boat sailed from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, on Saturday morning around 9:00 am local time and was heading to the island of Pulau Mengalum; a popular tourist destination about 60 kilometers off Malaysia’s eastern state.
However, the boat failed to arrive at its destination; prompting local authorities to a launch a search operation on an area covering about 400 nautical square miles.
An official from the Sabah and Labuan Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said bad weather has been hampering the search for the missing boat.
“The owner of the boat reported it missing on Saturday evening and we have begun a search and rescue mission,” said MMEA deputy director Rahim Ramli.
“We are looking at strong winds and choppy waters,” the official added.
According to Reuters, Malaysian navy, maritime police and air force have joined the search.
Meanwhile, the Chinese consulate in Sabah said only 18 people on board were confirmed to be Chinese citizens despite report that the boat was carrying 28 Chinese tourists and three crew members.
Consulate officials also urges the Malaysian government to step up the search operation even as the China National Tourism Administration said an immediate response procedures are already in place.