At least 14 dead after migrant boat carrying 70 capsizes off Malaysia
Published 03/09/2015 | 10:35
At least 14 people are feared after a wooden boat crammed with migrants heading back to Indonesia has capsized.
First Admiral Mohamad Aliyas Hamdan, the district chief of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, said the boat was believed to be carrying 70 people.
He said that among the confirmed dead so far are 13 women and a man.
The boat capsized off Malaysia's western coast, and 19 people have been rescued so far.
Agency official Mohamad Hambali Yaakup said the boat sank in bad sea conditions not far from the coast and several vessels and an aircraft were searching for survivors.
The local head of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Mohamad Aliyas Hamdan, told AFP: "We are not sure if the migrants were attempting to land in Malaysia or trying to leave Malaysia illegally."
South East Asia saw a migrant crisis earlier this year when Thai police clamped down on human traffickers.
This prompted thousands of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar, and who were heading for Malaysia and Indonesia, to attempt dangerous crossings in rickety boats.
A number of mass graves have also been discovered in southern Thailand and northern Malaysia in camps where the migrants were being held by the traffickers.