Malaysia: 19 people die in boat tragedy

– 8 more bodies recovered, including 6 men, 2 women; 17 still missing
By Dilan Pamuk

ANKARA (AA): The death toll rose to 19 on Thursday from a boat tragedy in southern Malaysia with the recovery of eight more bodies, including six men and two women.

Fourteen people have been rescued but 17 are believed to be missing, according to Maritime Captain Simon Templer Lo Tusa from the Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

Search and rescue efforts are ongoing for a second day with the participation of 145 personnel and officers through land, sea, and air, said the Malay Mail newspaper.

“The search-and-rescue operation on the second day continued with the involvement of an aircraft, a ship and a boat from MMEA, while two boats from the Marine Police Force and an aircraft from the Fire and Rescue Department joined the search in the afternoon,” said Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) operations deputy director Maritime Captain Simon Templer Lo Tusa during a media conference held in Tanjung Balau on 16 December.

The tragedy occurred when the boat carrying 50 undocumented asylum seekers capsized after being hit by high waves early Wednesday.

The bodies of 11 migrants were found along Tanjung Balau beach in the Kota Tinggi district of Johor province.

The migrants set out from Batam province and Lombok island and were en route to Malaysia.

[Map of Malaysia by CIA World Fact Book/Public Domain]

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