A boat carrying 50 illegal immigrants capsized due to the high waves during bad weather off the coast of Tanjung Balau, Johor at 4.30 a.m. yesterday (15 December).
According to Bernama, a total of 25 people are still missing, while 11 Indonesian nationals have been confirmed dead and another 14 undocumented migrants on the boat were saved.
It is reported that the boat is carrying undocumented migrants from Lombok, Indonesia and the search and rescue operations are still ongoing.
The survivors were found at a beach and taken to the Tanjung Sepang armed forces post in Kota Tinggi.
Meanwhile, the boat passengers’ personal effects, including wallets, photos, clothes and bags, were found strewn along Tanjung Balau beach.
In a statement, the Malaysian Third Infantry division command, Terendak Camp, Melaka, said the incident was reported around 4.30 a.m. when the boat was found in an overturned position and buffeted by waves around 20 metres from the beach.
“The quick response force and the armed forces drone teams were deployed with the assistance of the navy to locate the remaining undocumented migrants around the area.” the statement said.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) also reported that 7 men and 4 women were found drowned.
Johor maritime operations deputy director Simon Templer Lo Tusa said search and rescue operations will likely take around 4 to 10 days depending on prevailing conditions.
“Investigations will be conducted to find the syndicate mastermind transporting illegals on the capsized boat.” he said during a media conference at the location of the incident.
Bernama also reported that the 11 victims were bought to the Hospital Sultan Ismail Johor Bahru forensics department and the remains will be handled by forensics personnel in full personal protection equipment for autopsy.