World

Boat capsizes off Malaysia killing 13 women, 1 man

Fourteen people were killed when a wooden boat capsized off the west coast of Malaysia on Thursday (Sept 3).

Thirteen of the casualties were women. 

The boat — believed to be overcrowded with 70 migrant workers — was en-route from Selangor to the migrants' home in Sumatra, Indonesia.

Sea conditions were said to have been bad.

The Star reported that 19 people have been rescued so far.

According to Reuters, interviews with some of the survivors suggested that all the passengers were Indonesian.

Said Muhammad Aliyas Hamdan, an official of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA): "If they are legal, they would not leave (the country) that way.

"The boat sank due to overloading and bad weather." 

Captain Robert Teh Geok Chuan told Reuters that the death toll could well rise.

"We fear the casualty numbers will rise as it's been several hours since the boat sank."

A rescue team carrying a victim retrieved from a search operation near the area where a boat carrying Indonesian migrants sank in Hutan Melintang. PHOTO:  MALAYSIAN MARITIME ENFORCEMENT AGENCY

BBC News reported that thousands of Indonesians work illegally in plantations and in other industries in Malaysia.

Returning home without spending too much money often means a treacherous journey by water.

The officials said that search operations will continue and they have deployed ships and an aeroplane to search for survivors.

Indonesia's search and rescue agency said it was on standby to assist its Malaysian counterpart.

Source: The Star, Reuters, BBC News

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