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Malaysia recovers more bodies from migrant boat capsize

At least 61 bodies have been recovered after an overloaded wooden boat carrying dozens of Indonesian illegal migrants sank off Malaysia, maritime officials said on Monday.

Death toll climbs to 61 as search winds down

A Malaysian rescue team unloads 14 bodies recovered on Friday after a boat crammed with migrant workers capsized. Officials said Monday the death toll has climbed to 61, with the search likely to be called off on Tuesday. (The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency via AP))

At least 61 bodies have been recovered after an overloaded wooden boat carrying dozens of Indonesian illegal migrants sank off Malaysia, maritime officials said on Monday.

The bodies of 26 more victims of the capsized boat in the waters off Sabak Bernam were discovered Sunday.

The dead were mostly men, with one toddler on board, the maritime agency's search and rescue director, Robert Teh, told Reuters. Only 20 people are believed to have survived the accident, which happened on Thursday.

Teh said that if no more bodies were found on Monday the search operation might be called off on Tuesday.

The boat is believed to have overturned due to overloading and bad weather as the migrants were making the journey home for the Eid al-Adha holiday, officials told reporters on Thursday.

Most of Malaysia's estimated six million legal and illegal migrant workers are from Indonesia, working on construction sites, plantations, in factories and in domestic service.

Southeast Asia had a huge migrant crisis in May after boats carrying thousands of people from Myanmar and Bangladesh were left at sea following a Thai crackdown on people-smuggling gangs.

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