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Boat sinks off western Malaysia, 66 feared drowned


A Malaysian search and rescue team carry out a search operation on the outskirts of Banting on June 18, 2014 after an apparently overloaded boat carrying Indonesian illegal migrants sank overnight in seas off western Malaysia. Photo - AFP

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia:  A boat carrying 97 people from Indonesia sank off the western coast of Malaysia and 66 of the passengers are still missing, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said on Wednesday.

The passengers included women and children and the boat was not fit for a sea voyage, said Muhammad Zuri, an official with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency.

"This was an illegal boat and all the passengers were Indonesian," Zuri told Reuters. Zuri had earlier said that 61 people were missing, but later clarified that only 31 passengers had been rescued.

The agency had sent one boat to the area to search for survivors and was sending two more, the spokesman said.

Malaysia's New Straits Times said the boat sank around midnight on Tuesday about two miles (3 km) from the coastal town of Banting on the Strait of Malacca.

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