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40 still missing in Sumatra ferry accident JAKARTA - Nearly 40 passengers were still missing after a ferry sunk in rough waters off the coast of Indonesia's Sumatra island, officials said Friday. Most of the over 130 passengers and crew on board the Surya Makmur Indah ferry when it sunk off the coast of North Sumatra Thursday were rescued, but dozens of others were still missing.

"Up to now, there are 94 passengers that have been evacuated from the accident," Navy commander Lieutenant Colonel Djaka Santosa told the online news agency Detik.com, adding that 39 passengers listed on the boat's manifest were still missing. Rescue workers have said the number missing could be even higher, with passengers, including children, often boarding Indonesia's ferries without being on the official list. Three Americans and two Australians were also reported among the missing, the state-run news agency Antara said.

The ferry left Sibolga at 9 pm (1400 GMT) on Wednesday night on a nine-hour trip to Nias island, but sunk in stormy waters, with high waves sweeping overboard passengers sitting on the second-floor deck, The Jakarta Post reported. Passengers floated in the water, clinging to debris, before a Navy boat passed by after about an hour. On Thursday, the Navy rescued at least 82 survivors, including the captain and crew, and took them to Sibolga, where they were sent to a nearby hospital for medical treatment.

Rescue workers were still pulling survivors from the waters Friday, with a 20-year-old passenger identified as Feri, being rescued after having been floating in the sea for over 24 hours. Continued stormy weather and waves reaching one or two meters were making rescue efforts difficult Friday, Santosa said. "The rain was also pouring down, so it hindered the visibility for searching for passengers," he said.

Santosa said five ships will search for survivors on Friday, combing a radius of up to 16 kilometres from the location of the accident, and the search will continue for one week.


Related blog entry (category 'Accidents') Related blog entry (category 'Accidents'):
22 June 2006 · Boat with 120 people sinks off Sumatra


Posted in Accidents @ 24 June 2006 10:16 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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