Death toll in Malaysian boat accident rises to 18

Agence France Presse infographics


KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AFP) — The death toll from a boat accident off Malaysia rose to 18 Thursday after a search and rescue team found the bodies of seven more Indonesian migrants on the shore.

The vessel, which was carrying about 50 Indonesians seeking to enter neighbouring Malaysia illegally, capsized Wednesday in stormy weather off the southern state of Johor.

Soldiers on patrol found 11 victims on the shore in the hours after the accident, and the bodies of five more men and two women were recovered Thursday, the coastguard said.

Eighteen migrants are believed to still be missing, and authorities have deployed boats and an aircraft to hunt for them.

Another 14 people survived the accident, and have been taken into custody.

Indonesians desperate for work sometimes try to enter neighbouring Malaysia illegally by making sea crossings in rickety boats, but accidents happen regularly.

Relatively affluent Malaysia is home to millions of migrants from poorer parts of Asia, many of them undocumented, and they work in industries including construction and agriculture.

© Agence France-Presse