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Ferry sinks off Sulawesi, 23 dead, many missing JAKARTA - At least 23 people were killed and as many as 200 were missing after an Indonesian ferry carrying scores of wedding revelers capsized in rough seas, a navy official said Friday. The exact number of people aboard the Beringin Jaya, which sank Thursday off the remote island of Kabaruang between Indonesia's Sulawesi island and the Philippines, was not known. Police and navy estimates ranged between 200 and 300.
"There were so many people on that boat, and many people jumped on even way after the ticket booth was closed," Captain Alamsyah, a spokesman at the main North Sulawesi naval base in Manado city, told Reuters. Alamsyah said rescuers had found 23 bodies and 11 survivors in critical condition. "The rest are still being searched for." Another navy officer said a large party on board was going to a wedding on Kabaruang.
"Many were actually going to attend a wedding. The boat went down because of over-crowding as it was carrying around 300 people," said navy Sergeant Sunardi at the Sangihe Talaud naval base north of Sulawesi. Officials said rescue operations were being hampered by the remote location and rough seas. Kabaruang is in the Sangihe Talaud archipelago, about 2,500 km (1,500 miles) northeast of Jakarta. Brigadier Nolvianus Berhimpun of the Talaud police said many passengers had been rescued, but was unable to say how many had been plucked from the sea.
The Philippine coast guard said it had no information about the stricken ferry but was checking on the positions of ships in the area that might be able to join rescue efforts. A huge number of ferries ply the waters of Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, and sinkings, often caused by overcrowding or bad weather, occur periodically. The passengers a ferry is registered to carry is often much less than the actual number on board. The worst boat accident in recent years in Indonesia, the world's fourth most populous country, took place in nearby waters in the Moluccas in June 2000 when an overcrowded vessel carrying almost 500 passengers, mostly refugees fleeing sectarian violence, sank in bad weather. Only 10 people survived.
In February 1999, only 20 people were rescued from a ferry carrying 325 passengers and seven crew, which sank in the South China Sea near the Tambelan islands, north of Jakarta.



Posted in Accidents @ 19 March 2004 00:04 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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