Indonesian ferry sinks, 15 dead, 232 rescued
Rescuers saved more than 230 people aboard an Indonesian passenger ferry that sank Sunday in rough waters off Sumatra and 15 people have been confirmed dead.
Rescuers saved more than 230 people aboard an Indonesian passenger ferry that sank Sunday in rough waters off Sumatra i, but at least nine people have died, an official said.
An unknown number of passengers were still missing.
A second ferry was still stranded in nearby waters after running aground, but all its passengers were said to be safe.
Rescue teams have found nine bodies, including those of two children, and rescued 232 survivors from the Dumai Express 10, said Nurdin Basirun, a local government official.
High waves were making the search and rescue operation difficult, said Brig. Gen. Puji Hartanto, police chief of Riau Kepulauan province. At least nine ships and several fishing boats were searching the choppy sea for an unknown number of missing passengers.
Police and navy officials said the ferry manifest listed 228 people, including 15 children, and 14 crew members. But there were differing reports about whether those numbers were accurate or if more people were on board the ship.
The Dumai Express 10 left on an inter-island voyage Sunday morning and reportedly sank in poor weather 90 minutes into the trip from Batam to Dumai in Riau, a province off Sumatra island in western Indonesia.
The area is about 900 km northwest of Jakarta.
The passenger manifest said it was carrying 228 passengers, including 15 children, said Yasin Kosasih, a local police chief. It was also carrying 14 crew, according to Lt. Col. Edwin, the local navy chief.
At least nine ships and several fishing boats were searching for those missing, Edwin said.
A journalist from el-Shinta radio reported from one of the rescue ships that passengers could be seen floating in the water around some small islets, but the ship could not reach them due to high waves and shallow waters.
Passing boats have picked up dozens of those rescued.
In a separate accident Sunday, the Dumai Express 15, with 278 people on board ran aground amid the bad weather on its way from Batam to Moro island in Sumatra. All on board are safe, Kosasih said.
Indonesian ferry accidents have killed hundreds of people in recent years.
Boats are often overcrowded and safety regulations are poorly enforced.
The vast country spans more than 17,000 islands and boats are a popular and relatively cheap form of transportation.
Published Nov 22 2009