OTA KINABALU — Authorities combing the sea for five Chinese tourists and a Malaysian crew member from a boat that sank in rough seas off eastern Malaysia have expanded the search area.
The sinking of the catamaran off Kota Kinabalu on Saturday, the first day of the Lunar New Year holiday, sparked a major air and sea search covering some 400 nautical square miles.
“The search area is now 1,500 nautical square miles,” Awil Kamsari, a spokesman for the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA), told AFP.
“They (the six people missing) could have drifted further, so we have to expand the search area.”
Around 100 officers from the MMEA, navy and air force are involved in the mission as well as a C130 aircraft.
Part of the search area falls in Brunei waters and authorities there are using a helicopter to hunt for the missing six, Awil added.
Search efforts were abandoned due to rough sea conditions and bad weather yesterday night but resumed this morning.
The boat left from Sabah state capital Kota Kinabalu for Pulau Mengalum, an island known for its pristine beaches and dive sites.
> MMEA named 22 survivors this morning.
> Twenty of the survivors were Chinese tourists. The other two were the crew of the boat.
• Yan Yan Xin (male, 50 years old)
• Fan Li Xia (male, 40)
• Yan Si Yi (female, 17)
• Shen Hao Tian (male, 17)
• Yang Yao Ru (female, 24)
• Wang Xian Zhang (female, 48)
• Cao Dong Tue (female, age not given)
• Wei Yin (male, age not given)
• Lu Guo Hang (gender and age not given)
• Li Feng (female, 39)
• Chen Xin Jian (female, 23)
• Her Hai Min (male, 22)
• He Zi Hao (female, 20)
• Guo Shun Ke (male, 48)
• Tan Ting (female, 31)
• Zeng Cui Can (male, 55)
• Liu Jin Can (male, 31)
• Liu Juan (female, 32)
• Liu Fei Tong (male, 32)
• Chen Xi (female, 11)
> The two crew members are skipper Sharizal Salian, 25 and Aman Abdul, a 38-year-old Filipino who holds an IMM13 immigration travel document.
> He Run Yuan, 46.
> Zhang Xioa Kun (age unknown).