updated 12/26/2010 10:44:27 AM ET 2010-12-26T15:44:27

Three Singaporean tourists drowned and two others were missing Sunday after an overloaded passenger boat capsized near a Malaysian resort island, police said.

The wooden vessel was transporting nearly 30 people to a mainland port after leaving Malaysia's southern Sibu island, one of the diving zones closest to neighboring Singapore, district police chief Mohamad Nor Rashid said.

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The boat was carrying more than double its recommended capacity and capsized after being struck by strong waves, Mohamad Nor said. The passengers were not wearing life jackets.

Rescuers recovered the bodies of two Singaporean men and a woman and were looking for two missing passengers, also Singaporeans, Mohamad Nor said. He added that police had detained the boat's Malaysian captain for questioning.

It was Malaysia's second major transportation accident involving foreigners in less than a week. A bus crashed on a winding road while returning from a central hill resort on Dec. 20, killing 28 people, mostly from Thailand.

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