Malaysia 'immigrant' boat capsizes
Indonesian police suspect that the boat was overloaded and the trip was illegally organised - representational image Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad

At least 21 people died on Wednesday, (2 November) when a speedboat carrying Indonesian migrant workers capsized off the island of Batam, Indonesian police said. The passengers are Indonesian nationals who work in Malaysia.

Batam police chief Brigadier General Sambudi Gusdian said over 90 people were on the boat and 38 have been rescued so far. According to Jakarta Post, at least 34 passengers are missing.

A 51-year-old passenger, Haryanto, one of the survivors told Jakarta Post, that the boat left Johor Baru, Malaysia at 3am local time (8pm GMT Tuesday). "After two hours of sailing, the boat was struck by strong waves and heavy downpour." He said that the boat was so overcrowded that there was only standing room on board. A search and rescue team has been dispatched to find remaining survivors.

The police chief said they are investigating the accident and suspect that the boat was overloaded and the trip was illegally organised.