A dozen people have been rescued so far, and several bodies have been recovered by fishermen
(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) — A wooden boat carrying about 100 migrants heading to Indonesia has capsized off Malaysia’s western coast, the country’s maritime agency said Thursday, adding there were an unknown number of fatalities.
Agency official Mohamad Hambali Yaakup said 12 people have been rescued so far, and several bodies have been recovered by fishermen but he could not give further details.
He said the boat sank Thursday morning in bad sea conditions not far from the coast and several vessels and an aircraft were searching for survivors.
Mohamad Hambali said the boat was believed to have taking migrant workers home to Tanjung Balai in Indonesia’s Sumatra province and that it was likely to have been overcrowded when it sank.
Such incidents are common in Malaysia, which has up to 2 million Indonesian migrants working illegally in the country.
The Indonesians work without legal permits in plantations and other industries in Malaysia, and often travel between the countries by crossing the narrow Strait of Malacca in poorly equipped boats.