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Sunken Malaysia boat was massively overloaded: government

Published on Jun 19, 2014 12:32 PM
A Malaysia Maritime officer looks out into the sea during a search and rescue in Kuala Langat outside Kuala Lumpur, off Malaysia's western coast on June 18, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The boat that sank off Malaysia with 97 Indonesian illegal migrants was likely carrying three times more passengers than it could safely transport, authorities said on Thursday as they expanded a search for 26 still missing.

Nine bodies have been found after the vessel, overloaded with people heading home to Indonesia for the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, sank early on Wednesday not far from shore off western Malaysia.

Sixty-two people have been rescued and officials believe some of the 26 still missing made it to land and fled the area to avoid being apprehended by police.

Authorities said the boat was believed to measure no more than 9m long and 2m wide.

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