KUALA LUMPUR, June 18 (Xinhua) -- Forty-two people were still missing after a boat carrying 97 Indonesian nationals sank about 2 nautical miles (around 3.7 km) near Sungai Air Hitam off the western coast of Malaysia early Wednesday morning, according to local media reports.
As of 10:30 a.m. local time, 55 people including 41 men, 12 women and two children had been rescued by the rescue team and local fishermen, according to local newspaper New Straits Times.
It quoted Southern region Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) operations director Captain Ibrahim Mohamed as saying that the boat was believed to be heading for Acheh, Indonesia.
"MMEA have sent a ship, three boats and a helicopter to the location involving 35 officers and personnel and we are also assisted by other enforcement authorities including the Fire and Rescue Department, marine police and Civil Defense Department," he said.
Meanwhile, the local English language newspaper The Star also quoted police sources as saying that the boat did not capsize, as initially believed, but that a leak in the vessel caused it to sink.
The Star also claimed that the passengers were en route to Indonesia and were not in possession of valid travel documents and identification documents.