Monday, January 30, 2017

Five missing Chinese tourists: Malaysia shipwreck search area expanded

Rescuers hunting for five missing Chinese tourists and a Malaysian crewman after a tourist boat sank in rough seas off eastern Malaysia have expanded the search area, an official said Monday.

The sinking of the catamaran off Sabah state on Borneo island Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday, sparked a major air and sea search covering some 400 nautical square miles.

Twenty exhausted Chinese tourists survived hours in the water thanks to their life jackets and by clinging desperately to objects from the boat, but three tourists died.

The skipper and another crew member were found alive Sunday off a nearby island, before the discovery of the other survivors.

"The search area is now 1,500 nautical square miles," Awil Kamsari, a spokesman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, told AFP.

"They could have drifted further, so we have to expand the search area."

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