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More saved, hundreds missing after Indonesia ferry sinks TUBAN - More survivors from an Indonesian ferry sinking were brought ashore early on Monday, but hundreds were still missing and victims' bodies were scattered along beaches stretching for many miles of Java's coastline. By late Sunday Indonesian rescuers had found nearly 180 survivors from the ferry that went down in stormy seas around midnight on Friday with close to 700 people on board.

Confirmed deaths were just three. There were reports of scores more bodies recovered or sighted but officials were having difficulty compiling definitive data. "We are having problems because the victims are spread all across the beaches from Jepara to Rembang to Tuban and a lot of people are looking for victims, including sailors," said Toni Syaiful, spokesman for the navy's eastern fleet. The area he described stretches in a straight line some 175 km.

There was hope of finding more survivors, however, after several life rafts were spotted out at sea on Sunday with people in them. Anggit Mulyo Satoto, a national Search and Rescue official, said some of the rafts had as many as 20 people on board but had yet to be reached due to bad weather. "We have dropped logistics to them for survival until rescuers come," he said.

Thirty-five survivors picked up by fishing boats landed in Tuban in Central Java early on Monday, but authorities refused reporters access to them. They appeared stressed and still scared after what other survivors described as a harrowing scramble for life jackets and lifeboats when the ferry, Senopati Nusantara, ran into trouble.

High seas, heavy rains

One survivor told Reuters the ship had started to roll over after struggling in high seas and heavy rains. "Suddenly the lights went off and it became dark. The ship's crew tossed life jackets ... some could not get any but I got one," said Waluyo, 53. "I tried to get into a rubber boat but many people also did the same thing, so the rubber boat was torn ... Finally, I grabbed the edge of another rubber boat."

Waluyo said he did not know the fate of his children, one a young adult and the other an infant, travelling with him. Another survivor, Yanti, said many elderly passengers failed to get into the lifeboats. "Many old people were just resigned to their fate when the ship began sinking. I thank God for allowing me to live longer," she told state news agency Antara.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono said late on Sunday he had urged rescuers to continue searching for survivors. "I'm constantly in contact with central and local officials on the effort to save our brothers and sisters," he told a prayer session at the presidential palace.

The ship had been heading from Kalimantan on Borneo island to Semarang in Central Java. It was the second ferry disaster in as many days after a vessel overturned on Thursday in rough seas off Sumatra. Two people on that ferry died and 26 were still missing, a rescue official said.

31 December 2006: More than a dozen survivors of a ferry accident drift about in the sea off Rembang
31 December 2006: More than a dozen survivors of a ferry accident drift about in the sea off Rembang

According to the manifest the Senopati Nusantara was carrying 628 people including 57 crew. The total of survivors rescued had reached 177 by late Sunday, although one died after being taken aboard a fishing boat, Suharto, director of the transportation ministry's sea and coast guard, told Reuters.

Transportation Minister Hatta Rajasa has said the Japanese-built 2,178-tonne Senopati Nusantara was seaworthy and had a capacity of more than 850 passengers. Ships and ferries are a popular means of transport among Indonesia's 17,000 islands, where sea connections are cheaper and more available than air routes. However, safety standards are not always enforced, and accidents occur fairly often.


Link to related event Related event:
Ferry sinks off Java coast

Related blog entries (category 'Accidents') Related blog entries (category 'Accidents'):
01 January 2007 · 30 victims of Senopati Nusantara Ferry recovered
31 December 2006 · 122 survivors of ill-fated MV Senopati rescued
31 December 2006 · Minister: Ill-fated KM Senopati was still sea-worthy
30 December 2006 · Nearly 70 rescued from sinking ship north of Java
30 December 2006 · Indonesia ship with 850 passengers sinks


Posted in Accidents @ 01 January 2007 09:43 CET by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink





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