Migrant boat sinks in Indonesia, 10 rescued, nine missing

JAKARTA (AP) — A boat carrying 20 Indonesian migrant workers sank two days ago on its way to Malaysia, and rescuers have found 10 survivors and were searching yesterday for nine still missing. They recovered one body.

The boat began leaking and sank about an hour after leaving Rupat island in the Bengkalis regency late on Tuesday, Pekanbaru Rescue Spokesperson Kukuh Widodo said. The 10 survivors, mostly from North Sumatra, were rescued with life jackets, Kukuh said. Bengkalis Local Police Chief Sigit Adiwuryanto said yesterday one passenger’s body had been recovered. Rescuers including the Indonesia navy and local water police were using an inflatable boat to search the area where the boat sank. The chief said the survivors told the police the trip was illegal and the workers were undocumented.

Boats and ferries are popular means of transportation in the archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands. Accidents caused by overcrowding and poor safety standards are common.

In 2016, an overcrowded boat carrying 101 Indonesian migrant workers and their families home from Malaysia capsized in stormy weather off Batam island, near Singapore, killing at least 60 people. One of the worst ferry sinking occurred off Sulawesi island in 2009, killing more than 330 people.

Rescuers carry the body of a victim of a sunken boat off Bengkalis, Indonesia. PHOTO: AP