KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Malaysian police said 13 bodies, believed to be Indonesian illegal immigrants, were found washed ashore after their boat capsized in bad sea conditions.
District police chief Rahmat Othman said the bodies of four men and nine women were discovered on a beach in southern Johor state by members of the public early Tuesday.
He said authorities found an overturned wooden boat not far from the beach, which had likely capsized before dawn. Rahmat said the boat was believed to be carrying 30 to 35 people, most likely Indonesians trying to sneak into the country.
A search and rescue operation is underway but is being hampered by high tides and choppy seas, he said.
Such tragedies are not uncommon in Malaysia. Many Indonesians are willing to risk their lifes by traveling on boats believed to be old and unsafe to work in Malaysia illegally, or to return to their hometowns.