Malaysia boat sinking: 50 Indonesian migrants dead, 1 rescued

  • AFP, Kuala Lumpur
  • Updated: Sep 09, 2015 11:44 IST
Rescuers carry a body recovered from a capsized boat believed to be carrying illegal migrants, at a jetty in Hutan Melintang, Malaysia. (Reuters Photo/ The New Straits Times)

Malaysian rescuers recovered the bodies of 35 more Indonesian migrants who perished when their boat sank three days ago, along with a survivor, taking the toll in the disaster to 50, officials said on Sunday.

The survivor was recovered on Friday afternoon having spent more than a day in the water and was said to be in good health.

"Thirty-five more bodies have been recovered since Friday," said Mohamad Aliyas Hamdan, a Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency official.

We expect to find more over the next few days," he added. Aliyas said the search operation would continue for the next three days, adding that from information gained from the 20 people rescued, there were up to 80 people on the small vessel.

Officials said the overcrowded wooden boat capsized and sank in rough seas about 16 kilometres (10 miles) off the coast of central Malaysia's Selangor state before dawn on Thursday.

The group were leaving Malaysia to return to Indonesia across the Malacca Strait.

Malaysia is southeast Asia's third-largest economy and a magnet for migrant workers from its poorer neighbours, with the vast majority coming from Indonesia.

About two million Indonesians are now in Malaysia working a range of low-paid jobs.

Deadly accidents in the Strait are not uncommon, however, with travellers typically attempting the crossing in rickety vessels, often at night to avoid detection.

In June 2014, more than a dozen people drowned when a boat, overloaded with around 100 Indonesians, sank while taking its passengers home for the Islamic fasting month of Ramazan.

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