Xi demands all-out efforts to rescue Chinese tourists

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-01-29 19:48
Xi demands all-out efforts to rescue Chinese tourists

File photo shows the port in Kota Kinabalu (KK). [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -  Chinese President Xi Jinping demanded all-out search and rescue efforts for the 28 Chinese who were onboard a boat that lost contact with marine authorities in Malaysia on Saturday.

He asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Chinese Embassy in Malaysia to maintain close contact and cooperation with authorities of Malaysia, and China's transport and tourism authorities to activate emergency measures immediately to assist the rescue.

The Chinese embassy based in Kuala Lumpur said Sunday they were informed by the Malaysian Navy that five people were rescued, including a child, from a sunken boat.

Most passengers on board have been found, according to the Consulate General's office in Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah where the boat carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, has gone missing since Saturday.

The boat was sailing from Kota Kinabalu to Pulau Mengalum, a popular tourist island some 60 km to the west.

Related: China launches emergency measures over missing tourist boat in Malaysia

The China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) on Sunday activated emergency measures aftera boat carrying mainly Chinese tourists was reported to have gone missingin Malaysia.

An emergency team led by a deputy chief of the administration has been set up to deal with the incident, according to a CNTA statement.

The administration is checking the information of the tourists, and the staff in its Singapore office are preparing to search the area where the boat went missing, the statement said.

A boat carrying 31 people, among them more than 20 tourists from China, lost contact with marine authorities after it left a port in Kota Kinabalu (KK) in the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah to Pulau Mengalum, a popular tourist island 60 km west of KK, on Saturday, the Consulate General of China in KK said Sunday.

It is not clear yet what caused the disappearance of the boat, but an official from the Chinese consulate said there was unfavorable weather condition Saturday.

Bad weather hampers search effort

Bad weather has hampered search effort for the boat carrying mostly Chinese tourists that went missing off Malaysia's Sabah state, authorities said Sunday.

Senior official of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency Rahim Ramli said the rescue personnel faced strong winds and choppy waters, according to the local Star newspaper.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said the boat was carrying 31 people, include 28 tourists from China. It sailed out at 9:00 am local time on Saturday from Sabah's state capital of Kota Kinabalu to Pulau Mengalum, a popular tourist island 60 km to the west.

The Chinese Consulate General's office has confirmed at least some 20 passengers are Chinese citizens.

The MMEA received a call about the boat's disappearance on Saturday night and a search and rescue operation was launched to cover an area of 400 square nautical miles. The operation was jointly conducted by MMEA, the Malaysian Navy and Air Force.


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