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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

China envoy: Don’t stop search till missing six found

KOTA KINABALU - China’s ambassador to Malaysia urged Putrajaya today to continue its search-and-rescue operations for six people, including a 10-year-old girl, still missing after their catamaran sank off Sabah’s west coast five days ago.

“We request that the search and rescue be continued till every last missing person is found. We cannot give up hope until everyone is accounted for,” Huang Hui Kang told reporters during a visit to 20 Chinese tourists rescued from the boat and now recuperating at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital here.

Five of the missing are Chinese citizens while the sixth is a local boat crew member.

Huang praised the Malaysian authorities for the ongoing search and rescue efforts to date, but also said he hoped the government will give a clear answer to the public and the Chinese families on what happened and what measures are to be taken to prevent it from happening again.

“This tragedy is the worst news possible to happen on Chinese New Year, it shouldn’t have happened, but now that is has, we have to learn our lesson and take effective measures to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“Foreign activities must be properly handled. We hope the Malaysian government will spare no effort to make sure this incident doesn’t occur again,” he said.

He also said China will continue to extend it cooperation as best possible.

Authorities are currently investigating the incident which has led to the catamaran capsize with 28 Chinese tourists onboard at the last count.

The boat left the jetty at 9am on the first day of Chinese New Year heading to Mengalum island but hit bad weather and sank some eight nautical miles before reaching its destination.

Three Chinese nationals died in the mishap. Two local boatmen were part of the 22 rescued.

The event has sparked controversy and debate over dubious practices by tour companies who specialise in cheap tour packages.

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