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Missing catamaran last seen by skipper of another tour boat, says kids among passengers

KOTA KINABALU: A boat skipper here claims he last saw the missing catamaran carrying 31 people, mostly Chinese tourists, in waters near Pulau Sapi yesterday.

Arwin Musbir, 24, said he was transporting 32 Chinese tourists on his boat to Pulau Mengalum yesterday, leaving the Tanjung Aru jetty at 9am, together with the missing boat. “We were heading to Pulau Mengalum and were ahead of them.

“As we passed Pukau Sapi, I could no longer see the boat, ” he said when met at the Jesselton Point jetty here.

He said the boat never arrived at Pulau Mengalum and he only realised something was amiss after he asked other skippers about the boat on his way back to Tanjung Aru.

Fearing the worst, Arwin said he informed the company’s boss. “There were children on the missing boat but I don’t know how many,” he added.

It is learnt that the missing boat has no radar or communications device system. Sabah’s Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) received a distress call on the disappearance of the boat late last night.

A search and rescue operation was launched, covering 400 square nautical miles and involving waters between Kota Kinabalu and Pulau Mengalum.

A Royal Malaysian Air Force C130 aircraft is being deployed to carry out an aerial search.-nst

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