The captain and a crew member from a missing Malaysian boat made it to safety Sunday and others among the 31 people, mostly Chinese tourists, on the boat may be drifting in the water waiting to be rescued, authorities said.
The boat's captain and a crew member were found Sunday afternoon in the waters between the island of Pulau Tiga and an offshore oil drilling platform, Malaysia's The Star Online reported. The boat had left Kota Kinabalu in the Malaysian state of Sabah on Saturday morning on its way to Pulau Mengalum, an island about 38 miles west.
The Chinese consulate in Kota Kinabalu said multiple survivors "were reported drifting at sea waiting for rescue," the official Xinhua News Agency reported. Chinese state television said the crew reported helping passengers put on life jackets as the boat was sinking.
Malaysia deployed search and rescue ships and helicopters after receiving a call Saturday night about the boat's disappearance, Xinhua reported.
Calls to the Chinese Consulate rang unanswered Sunday, as did calls to the Maritime Enforcement Agency.
Xinhua cited the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency as saying there were 28 Chinese tourists on board. But the Chinese Consulate could only confirm the passport details of 18 Chinese citizens, Xinhua said.