KUALA LUMPUR – Eleven of those who went missing after an overloaded ferry capsized in churning rapids on a remote Borneo river have been found safe, a Malaysian police official was quoted as saying Wednesday.
Authorities had estimated the number of missing at 23 before the latest survivors were found, but the police official reportedly said the precise number was unclear due to the lack of a passenger manifest.
Divers have been sent to search the boat, which was carrying more than 200 passengers — about three times its capacity — as people headed home for a festival celebrated by indigenous tribes in the Malaysian state of Sarawak.
The accident happened Tuesday morning on the Rajang river, Malaysia’s longest. Rescue efforts have been complicated by the location deep in Borneo’s rugged jungle interior.
Bakar Anak Sebau, police chief of the town of Belaga, near the site of the accident, said 11 more people were located in addition to 181 that were earlier rescued or found safe, the state news agency Bernama reported. “As of now, we could not say how many more are still missing even though new survivors were found, unless we have the manifest,” he said.