More than 60 Indonesians dead after migrant boat capsizes
Officials say the overloading and bad weather caused the vessel to overturn off Malaysia
A body from an Indonesian capsized boat victim carried by Malaysian rescuers. Photograph: Malaysian Enforcement Angency/EPA/handout
Sixty-one bodies have been recovered from an overloaded wooden boat which sank off Malaysia carrying dozens of Indonesian illegal immigrants, maritime officials said on Saturday.
The dead were mostly men, with one toddler on board, the maritime agency’s search and rescue director, Robert Teh, said.
Only 20 people are believed to have survived.
“If no more bodies are found today, we may call off the search and rescue operations tomorrow,” Mr Teh said.
The boat is believed to have overturned due to overloading and bad weather as immigrants were making the journey home for the Eid al-Adha holiday, officials told reporters on Thursday.
Most of Malaysia’s estimated six million legal and illegal migrant workers are from Indonesia, working in construction sites, plantations, factories and in domestic service.
Last week’s tragedy occurred at a time when Europe is facing its biggest refugee crisis with thousands of Middle Eastern refugees making their way by boat across the Mediterranean. Hundreds have died.