World

Survivors huddled to stay alive in cold waters

Three dead, five still missing after boat carrying Chinese tourists sinks off M'sia

KUALA LUMPUR: Chinese tourist Fan Li Xia and other passengers held on to the body of a dead friend for as long as they could as they trod water after a catamaran capsized in the cold waters of the South China Sea.

It was carrying 27 Chinese tourists and three crew on a Chinese New Year cruise and sank on Saturday off the coast of Borneo after being battered by heavy waves.

Three tourists were found dead on Sunday and 22 people were rescued, many of them bleeding and badly sunburnt. Four tourists and a crew member were still missing yesterday.

Ms Fan said the grouphad to struggle in the cold water for more than 30 hours.

"If we were found any later, I don't think I would've survived," she told reporters at a hospital.

"My friend died. We dragged his body around for half a day, but we couldn't manage any more so we had to let it go."

Survivor Yang Yaoru said their collective will helped them endure the cold. They shared the little food they had and urged each other to stay alive.

Ms Yang, who was on holiday with her mother, said the survivors huddled together to try to shake off the cold.

She said her mother was not a good swimmer.

"If I had died, my mother couldn't have survived by herself... I must bring her home," the 24-year-old told CCTV from her hospital bed. - REUTERS

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