KOTA KINABALU: Search and rescue personnel have rescued 22 people, mostly China tourists from waters near Labuan, about 32 hours after their catamaran sank.
Another three are believed to have died while six more people remain unaccounted for from the boat that went missing on Saturday on its way to Pulau Mengalum.
State Assistant Minister of Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Pang Yuk Ming said the deaths of the three could only be confirmed pending confirmation of medical authorities.
He added that those who were rescued were picked up from the sea in waters off Labuan.
He said they would be taken to Labuan and arrangements would be made to bring them to Kota Kinabalu as soon as possible.
The catamaran skipper and a crewman were rescued earlier on Sunday.
There were 28 tourists from China and three crew members on board the catamaran.
The vessel was supposed to have arrived at the island two hours later but sank on its way there.
The boat, which set off from Tanjung Aru at 9am on Saturday, on its 56km journey to Pulau Mengalum, was reported missing at about 9.50pm by its owner.
Pulau Tiga is about 53km away from Pulau Mengalum, and 50km from Tanjung Aru jetty. – Star Online