31 missing in boat off Malaysia

  • 29/01/2017
 Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (Reuters)
Bad weather is hampering the search effort (Reuters / file)

A boat carrying 31 people, including 28 Chinese tourists, is missing off the coast of Borneo, Malaysian maritime authorities say.

The boat left Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the eastern Malaysian state of Sabah, at about 9am on Saturday (local time), and was headed towards the popular tourist spot of Mengalum island, Sabah and Labuan Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director Rahim Ramli said.

Rahim said the boat was reported missing at about 9:50pm after failing to arrive at the island, and that a search and rescue operation was launched soon after.

Bad weather was hampering the search effort, which covers an area of about 400 nautical square miles, he said.

"We are looking at strong winds and choppy waters, and have requested assistance from the air force to conduct an aerial search," he said.