KOTA TINGGI, MALAYSIA - Thirteen Indonesians, believed to be illegal immigrants, drowned after the long boat they were travelling in capsized in the South China Sea.
The victims were exiting Malaysia using an illegal route and were believed to have been on their way to Batam, Indonesia, when the tragedy took place.
Choppy sea conditions and strong winds have been identified as the main factors that caused the boat to capsize, according to The Star.
The bodies of four men and nine women were washed ashore and discovered by members of the public along Tanjung Kelisa, Mulim Timur, Bandar Penawar, near the Tanjung Balau beach.
Kota Tinggi district police chief Superintendent Rahmat Othman was quoted by The New Straits Times saying that said a member of the public spotted several bodies floating in the sea at the Tanjung Kelisa beach at 8.40am on Tuesday (Jan 26) and alerted the police. A search and rescue operation was launched at 9am comprising the marine police and Bandar Penawar police officers.
The bodies have been sent to the Sultan Ismail Hospital in Pandan, Johor Baru, for post-mortem.