A boat carrying 380 migrants, most of them from the Middle East, sank off the coast of east Java in Indonesia Saturday and hundreds of the passengers were missing, a senior emergency official said.

Only 76 people had been rescued, said Sahrul Arifin, the head of emergency and logistics at the East Java Disaster Mitigation Center.

He said strong waves wrecked the wooden boat about 90 km (56 miles) out to sea. Our search and rescue team have begun sweeping the water around where the accident took place but we are now sending body bags to that area, Arifin said.

He said the passengers were believed to be illegal migrants from countries including Iran and Afghanistan. Many boat people from the Middle East and Asia use Indonesia as a transit point en route to Australia.

(Reporting by Olivia Rondonuwu, editing by Mark Trevelyan)