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38 killed in Indonesia boat sinking

4 November 2016 7:00

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Authorities in Indonesia have recovered more dead bodies from the site of a recent accident that saw an overcrowded boat carrying migrant workers sink off the Indonesian island of Batam.

On Wednesday, a speedboat carrying migrant workers and their families, a total of around 100 people, capsized in stormy weather near Batam.

Police and rescue agency officials said that, by Friday morning, a further 20 bodies had been added to the 18 bodies recovered earlier.

Thirty nine of the passengers on board the speedboat were rescued.

Two of the boat’s three crew members were among the survivors and were later arrested by police for investigation.

Some 22 people are still missing.

“This search is not easy,” said Abdul Hamid, the head of the local search and rescue agency. “Strong winds and currents were hampering our efforts and the sea was murky, making it difficult for rescuers to look below the surface.”

The boat was carrying the Indonesian workers and their families home from Malaysia.

Indonesian police are seen unloading bodies from a boat accident in Indonesian waters off Batam, November 2, 2016. (Photo by AFP)

 

Police suspect the trip was illegal and the workers were undocumented because of the high fares that the survivors said they had paid.

Speedboats and ferries are a common form of transport in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago with more than 17,000 islands.

Maritime incidents are common due to the poor enforcement of safety regulations on boats and ferries, which offer a relatively cheap form of transportation and are often full to the brim.

One of the worst ferry incidents in Indonesia in recent years occurred off the country’s Sulawesi Island in 2009, killing more than 330 people.

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