JAKARTA: A boat carrying 96 people from Malaysia to Indonesia sank on Wednesday, killing at least 18, Indonesian police said.

The boat, from Johor, sank off Indonesia’s Batam island when it was hit by big waves, police said. The passengers were believed to be illegal workers returning to Indonesia.

At least 39 people were found alive.

“Search and rescue efforts continue to find the rest of the passengers,” police spokesman Airlangga said.