Ten missing after migrant boat capsizes off Indonesia

PEKANBARU, INDONESIA (AFP) - Ten people were missing after a boat carrying 20 migrant workers capsized off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island, a search and rescue official said on Thursday (Jan 23).

The wooden vessel, which was bound for neighbouring Malaysia, began taking on water when it was inundated by high waves on Tuesday evening.

"There were 20 people on board - 10 of them were rescued while 10 others are still missing," local search and rescue official Leni Tadika told Metro TV Thursday.

The rescued workers, who wore life vests, were spotted by fishermen on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said the passengers were illegal migrants.

Indonesians regularly make the perilous crossing to Malaysia in search of work, often as construction and palm oil plantation workers.

Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, a South-east Asian archipelago of some 17,000 islands, due to lax safety standards.

In recent years, dozens of Indonesian migrant workers have disappeared in such accidents.

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