Sunday, 24 July 2016

34 Saved as A Boat Capsized with 62 Indonesians on Board, Killing 7 while 21 still missing,

7 dead, 21 missing in Johor boat tragedy

JOHOR BARU: A group of 62 Indonesians, whose boat capsized just metres away from the shores of Pantai Batu Layar here, was said to be attempting to sneak out of the country when the incident occurred.

On Sunday, three more bodies were found off Kota Tinggi, bringing the death toll to seven.

Johor Immigration Department director Rohaizi Ibrahim said 34 others including eight women were saved following the mishap which occurred between 8pm and 9pm on Saturday (July 23).

“Initial investigations revealed that the group was attempting to sneak out of the country via a non-gazetted route in a bot pancung (rickety boat).

“The group had climbed the boat around 7pm last night but they were struck by waves as high as two metres that caused the boat to capsize,” Rohaizi told reporters here.

He added that the survivors, aged between 25 year and 41, were handed over to the department around 7am Sunday for further investigations and action.

“The villagers rushed to the rescue of the victims before handing over some of them when the authorities arrived,” Rohaizi said, adding that a search and rescue operation was ongoing to locate 21 others lost at sea.

Only three of the 34 victims rescued had passports while the rest did not have any identification documents.

Earlier, the Fire and Rescue Department issued a statement on the mishap, saying that four from the group including three women had drowned in the tragedy.

Its operation commander Azlan Mohd Sobri said three officers from the Bandar Penawar station were deployed to the scene after receiving a distress call at 11.07pm before a search and rescue operation was launched.

He said 29 army personnel, 12 police officers, and three hospital staff members well as officers from the Malaysia Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) were assisting in the operation.

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