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Jakarta Post

Indonesia ferry sinking leaves at least 15 dead

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    Agence France-Presse

Jakarta   /   Tue, June 18, 2019   /   02:09 pm
Indonesia ferry sinking leaves at least 15 dead People board a ferry headed for their hometowns on Java island from the port of Gilimanuk in Jembrana ahead of Eid al-Fitr to mark the end of the Ramadan, on the majority Hindu island of Bali on June 1, 2019. Millions of Indonesians have started heading to their hometowns to celebrate Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of Muslim's holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AFP/Sonny Tumbelaka)

At least 15 people have died after a passenger ferry sank off the Indonesian island of Java, police said Tuesday, the latest maritime accident to hit the archipelago nation.

The overloaded boat was carrying around 50 people when it overturned Monday in rough seas near Madura island, East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.

Search and rescue teams found 13 bodies Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of dead to 15, with 31 survivors.

Rescuers are searching for at least three people officially listed as still missing. But local reports have suggested that there could be more victims not on the official manifest.

"It's suspected that the boat was overloaded," Mangera said in a statement.

"The boat was hit by a large wave, overturned and sank."

The 10-metre (32 foot) long traditional vessel was found by fishermen shortly after it was swamped, he added.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands, where many use ferries and other boats to travel despite poor safety standards.

More than 160 people died when a passenger ferry sunk into the depths of one of the world's deepest lakes on Sumatra island last year.

More than 300 people are estimated to have drowned in 2009 when a ferry sank between the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo.