Eight foreigners drown, 12 rescued and five still missing in Kota Tinggi boat tragedy

BOAT TRAGEDY: Che Mahazan checking the bodies recovered after their boat capsized off Teluk Semayong waters, near Kota Tinggi. — Bernama photo

KOTA TINGGI: Eight people drowned, 12 others were rescued while six more are still missing, all foreigners, after their boat capsized seven nautical miles off Teluk Semayong waters, Sedili Besar, near Kota Tinggi yesterday morning.

Kota Tinggi Police Chief Supt Che Mahazan Che Aik said the boat was believed to be illegally ferrying men from Afghanistan and Iraq to a neigbouring country when the overfilled boat capsized due to rough seas.

“We have sent the bodies of the eight to the Kota Tinggi Hospital for post-mortem. They have yet to be identified,” he said when contacted here yesterday.

Che Mahazan said rescue operations were underway to find the five missing men after police were informed by villagers who found eight bodies that were washed ashore at the Teluk Semayong beach.

He added that those who were rescued did not have any identification documents as their belongings were lost in the sea when the boat capsized.

Based on information from those rescued, the ‘tekong’ of the boat had escaped after the incident, he said.

“We believe they did not use the Kota Tinggi sea route during the ‘escape’ bid but we will continue the investigation. We are having difficulty to communicate with the foreigners who were rescued since they did not understand Bahasa Melayu or English,” he said.

Che Mahazan said the case would be investigated under the Human Trafficking offence.
— Bernama

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