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Hundreds still missing after boat sinking off Indonesia JAKARTA - Up to 200 people remain missing after a ship carrying Australia-bound immigrants sank off the coast of Indonesia on late Saturday evening, officials said on Tuesday. Nearly 50 others have been rescued.

The East Java National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) said the exact number of passengers remains uncertain because there was no passenger list and survivors have not been willing to give detailed statements. However, authorities believe the boat was carrying about 250 people, including immigrants from Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.

Basarnas told the Jakarta Globe on Monday that an additional 15 passengers have been rescued, bringing the total number to 48. Authorities believe there is little chance other survivors will be found, and the estimated 200 missing are likely to have drowned.

The latest survivors include 13 people who were found by a tugboat near Baron, an island of Jember Regency in East Java province. Two other survivors, both men, were spotted in the Sendang Biru waters, not far from Malang. One of them was unconscious.

The immigrant ship capsized on late Saturday evening after being hit by strong waves off Prigi in East Java, about 90 kilometers (55.9 miles) off the coast. The ship was overloaded as it had been designed to carry a maximum of 100 passengers.

According to media reports, only 25 life jackets were on board the boat and crew members and passengers fought to get them. Crew members managed to obtain at least six of the life jackets and fled while passengers tried to use pieces from the boat to prevent them from drowning.

Several boats and helicopters have been assisting in the search and rescue effort, which has been made difficult by bad weather and high waves. The operations were continuing on Tuesday morning in the hopes of finding more survivors.

It is not uncommon for asylum-seeking immigrants to travel through Indonesia in their voyages trying to reach Australia. Last month, an overloaded vessel carrying an estimated 60 to 100 people sank in bad weather and rough seas off the coast of western Java. Indonesian naval forces had rescued at least 47 people, but an unknown number remained missing.

Also in the beginning of November, Indonesian authorities arrested eleven Afghan and Turkish illegal immigrants traveling in a vehicle in Ponorogo, East Java. Ponorogo police chief Adjunct Senior Commissioner Yudha Gustawan said they were suspected of trying to reach Australia, but they were arrested since they lacked proper immigration documents.


Related blog entries (category 'Accidents') Related blog entries (category 'Accidents'):
19 December 2011 · Boat carrying immigrants sinks in Prigi waters
19 December 2011 · Pilot dies, four passengers injured in Papua plane crash
16 December 2011 · Stranded fishermen in Antarctica days away from rescue
14 December 2011 · Bus plunges into ravine, 2 passengers killed
05 December 2011 · Wall collapses in Indonesia's South Sulawesi, killing 11
04 December 2011 · Indonesia to rebuild Tenggarong bridge in 2012

Related blog entries (category 'Accidents') Tags: boat, sinking, illegal, immigrants, asylum


Posted in Accidents @ 20 December 2011 05:25 CET by Blog Bot · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






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