A boat carrying 31 people, among them more than 20 tourists from China, has lost contact with the authorities since it sailed out from Kota Kinabalu (KK) in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah on Saturday, the Consulate General of China in KK said on Sunday.
A statement from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said the boat, with three crewmembers on board, sailed out at 9:00 a.m. local time on Saturday from Tanjung Aru to Pulau Mengalum, a popular tourist island 60 km west of KK.
The MMEA received a call about the boat's disappearance on Saturday night, and then sent out rescue ships and helicopters to the site for rescue.
A report from the New Strait Times quoted a Sabah MMEA communications officer as saying that "the search area covers 400 nautical square miles and involves waters between Kota Kinabalu and Pulau Mengalum."
It is not clear yet what caused the disappearance of the boat, but an official from the Chinese consulate said there were stormy waves at the waters on Saturday.