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Press release from the Bangkok Post -

40 still missing in Indonesia ferry accident

Jakarta (dpa) - 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.


Rushie
 

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Update

Press release - thanks to ABC OnLine News

Nine believed dead in Indonesian ferry sinking

Nine people are believed to have died when a ferry sank off Indonesia's Sumatra island last week, and around 30 people remain missing, officials have said.

An Indonesian navy boat was trying to retrieve eight bodies of people thought to have been on board the ferry, which was carrying at least 133 people when it went down en route from Sibolga in North Sumatra to Nias island.

Ninety-four, including the ship's captain, were rescued.

"We have been notified that a fishing boat sighted eight bodies ... this morning and our ship is currently heading to the area to retrieve them," Jaka Santosa, who heads the naval base in Sibolga, said.

An unidentified male body was found on Sunday, he said.

The ill-fated ferry departed port on Wednesday evening for the 140-kilometre journey to Gunung Sitoli, the main town on Nias, but lost all contact with port authorities about two hours later in rough seas.

The captain of the ship said it sank after springing a leak when its rudder was torn off by huge waves, local media reported.

Ferries are a crucial link between the archipelago nation's 17,000 islands but boats are often overloaded amid lax safety standards.

Nias was one of the areas hit by a massive 2004 earthquake and subsequent tsunami that killed more than 220,000 people around the Indian Ocean.


Rushie
 

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Further update

Press release from WWW.englishpeople.com

16 bodies found in ship sinking off Sumatra waters

Rescue team has found 16 bodies in the waters off Sumatra island after their ship sank last week, a navy commander told Xinhua by telephone from the province on Tuesday.

Commander of navy base in Sibolga district of North Sumatra province Leut. Colonel Jaka Santosa said that some 20 others, who were still missing, also feared died due to long stay in the sea.

He said the search for the missing would end on Wednesday.

"We have found 16 bodies. The possibility of those missing to survive is too small, if we link to how many days they are on the waters," he said.

There were about 120 passengers and 13 crew members on the ferry. Altogether 94 survivors were confirmed as of last Friday afternoon.

The ship was sunk by huge waves caused by bad weather in North Sumatra waters on late Wednesday night.

The accident took place after the ship sailed some 50 miles northwest of the small Sibolga Port in Sibolga district of the province toward Nias island.


Rushie
 
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