Monday, January 12, 2009

100 Feared Dead After Ferry Sinking

At least 100 people are missing and feared dead after a passenger ferry sank in rough seas off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.The overcrowding of passenger ferries is a common problem across the Indonesian archipelago but initial reports suggest that a storm at sea was to blame for the sinking of the 700 tonne vessel known as the Teratai Prime at about 2:00 am (local time) Sunday morning. At least 250 passengers along with 17 crew members were aboard the ferry when it sank amidst two-metre high waves about 50 kilometres off the western coast of the island of Sulawesi.
Indonesia's Transport Minister Jusman Syafi Djamal says he believes 150 passengers have survived the sinking of the ferry, but this has not yet been confirmed by police or rescue workers. Ferry disasters are common in Indonesia where ferries are relied upon to traverse the archipelago of more than 17,000 islands. 400 people died in 2006 when a ferry sank of the northern coast of Java.

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