15 dead in Malaysia boat-capsize, 40 missing

Kuala Lumpur, Sep 4 (IANS) The toll in a boat-capsize off the western coast of Malaysia in the Malacca Straits rose to 15 on Friday with over 40 missing, media reported.

The bodies of 15 passengers were found in the sea about nine nautical miles southwest of Tanjung Sauh port, where the incident occurred on Thursday morning, the Malaysian Star reported.

Some fishermen saved 19 passengers from the “pom-pom boat”, a wooden vessel about 40ft to 50ft long, which was carrying about 70 to 80 passengers.

Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) chief First Admiral Mohd Aliyas Hamdan said the Indonesia-registered boat could have been overloaded and that most of the passengers were suspected to be illegal migrants.

The boat left from Kuala Sungai Bernam and was headed for Tanjung Balai in Indonesia.

The victims comprised 13 women and two men, the chief said.

He said the MMEA was still trying to find out exactly how many people were aboard the boat.

Indonesian Deputy Ambassador to Malaysia Hermono said the embassy would assist in identifying the victims and getting the survivors home.

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