Two Chinese sisters on holiday in the Maldives drowned after one of them was reportedly pulled by a riptide, according to the Chinese embassy. The women were snorkeling at a beach of the Fihalhohi Island south of the capital Male when the accident happened on Friday afternoon, a spokesman of the Chinese embassy to the Maldives told South China Morning Post via phone today. He said “the sea was rough and the victims were not wearing life vests” despite all snorkellers being strongly advised to do so. The spokesman said the victims “were born after 1980 and 1990 respectively”, but would not provide other specifics, citing privacy concerns. He added that victims’ families had arrived in Maldives in the wake of the tragedy and that embassy officials in the island nation have been cooperating with the local police investigation. Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV cited eyewitnesses reporting that one of the victims was dragged away by a sudden tide, prompting her sister to rush to her rescue. However, both did not make it back to shore. The Maldives, a speck in the Indian Ocean but a burgeoning luxury resort destination, has attracted many Chinese tourists in recent years. More than 360,000 Chinese tourists visited the Maldives last year alone – 9.7 per cent more than in 2013 and 24 times more than a decade earlier. The Chinese also accounted for some 30 per cent of overall tourists travelling there. The island is also rated by Chinese tourists as one of the top 10 most satisfying travelling destinations, joining the ranks of Switzerland, Japan, Thailand and New Zealand.