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Tourist boat carrying 31 people 'disappears' off Malaysia coast

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 29/01/2017 Tom Powell

© Provided by Independent Print Limited A tourist boat carrying 31 people has gone missing off the Malaysian coast in stormy conditions, authorities said.

The catamaran lost contact after departing Kota Kinabalu in the eastern state of Sabah on Saturday.

Search efforts for the boat, which has around 20 Chinese tourists on board, have reportedly been hampered by bad weather.

The boat went missing on the first day of China’s week-long New Year celebration, which is celebrated by people of Chinese ethnicity who live in Malaysia.

It had left the harbour at 9am (1am GMT) and was heading 60km west to the popular tourist island of Pulau Mengalum.

Authorities are searching a section of the South China Sea of about 400 square nautical miles, according to The Star daily in Malaysia, but are contending with strong winds and choppy waters.

Arwin Musbir, the captain of another boat that left for Pulau Mengalum at the same time, told the New Straits Times newspaper that he was following the missing boat but lost sight of it shortly after they left.

He said he realised it had gone missing only after he arrived at the island.

© Provided by Independent Print Limited

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