by BERNAMA / pic credit: Police
KOTA TINGGI – Five Indonesians have been found drowned while three others remain missing after a boat capsized off Teluk Ramunia, Pengerang here, at 4.50 am today.
Johor State Maritime director First Admiral Nurul Hizam Zakaria said 19 others, comprising 10 women and nine men, were found safe floating about one nautical mile from the bay.
“The bodies of two women were found along with the survivors, while three other women’s bodies were found about a kilometre from the scene at 7.30 am,” he said in a statement at the Pengerang Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority Jetty.
All the bodies were taken to the Kota Tinggi Hospital for post-mortem, while the survivors, aged between 20 and 40, were taken to the Malaysian Armed Forces Post in Tanjung Sepang, near here.
According to Nurul Hizam, the 15m-long wooden boat with three 200-horsepower engines was believed to be travelling from Tanjung Tondang, Pulau Bintan, heading towards Teluk Ramunia.
“It is understood that the boat can travel at 80 km/h with a capacity of 27 passengers.
“The distance from Pulau Bintan to Teluk Ramunia is about 11 miles and the Indonesia/Malaysia border is about six nautical miles which can take only about half an hour (to travel).
“We believe that the wooden boat, which was driven too fast with waves as high as one metre, apart from the wind speed, had caused the boat to become unstable and capsize,” he said.
Earlier, the Malaysian Maritime Surveillance System (SWASLA) radar had detected a suspicious boat moving from Pulau Bintan, Indonesia, towards national waters at 3.45 am, before alerting the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN).
The RMN then detected the boat at 4.10 am, however, after realising the presence of the authorities, the boat was seen to have sped up before capsizing at 0.8 nautical miles off Teluk Ramunia at 4.50 am.
He said the wooden boat was found at 9.30 am about one nautical mile southwest of Kuala Sungai Rengit, here, while the search for three remaining still continues.
“A total of 97 personnel from various agencies and seven assets are involved in the operation,” he added.
This is the second capsized boat incident this week involving illegal immigrants.
On Tuesday, six Indonesian women drowned while seven others survived after a boat capsized off the waters of Pontian Besar.