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Boat carrying illegal immigrants sinks off coast of Malaysia, 66 feared dead

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At least 66 people are missing after a boat carrying 97 Indonesians reportedly sank off the coast of Malaysia on Tuesday, June 17, 2014. Reuters reports that the wooden boat was carrying illegal immigrants from Indonesia and the missing passengers may have drowned.

An official with the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Muhammad Zuri, tells Reuters that the boat was "not fit for a sea voyage." There were woman and children among the 97 passengers.

Zuri confirmed that 31 passengers had been rescued and that all of the passengers were Indonesian. Boats were sent in to search for survivors, but at last report, 66 people were still missing. According to the New Straits Times, a news reporting agency in Malaysia, the boat sank at approximately midnight on Tuesday about two miles from the town of Banting on the Strait of Malacca.

"This was an illegal boat" that was not authorized for ocean voyages." - Muhammad Zur, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency

The BBC reports that the passengers on the boat were working in Malaysia illegally. It is believe that they were trying to return home for Ramadan, the Muslim holy month.

For the latest information on the missing passengers, follow the BBC on Twitter.



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