Ferry sinks off Indonesia's Riau islands, 29 dead

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At least 29 people have died in a ferry accident off Indonesia's Riau islands, with and 245 rescued and 17 still missing, national media reported on Monday.

At least 29 people have died in a ferry accident off Indonesia's Riau islands, with and 245 rescued and 17 still missing, national media reported on Monday.

The Dumai Express 10 sank in a storm at around 9:15 a.m. local time (02:15 GMT) on Sunday after being hit by huge waves, the Jakarta Post website said.

The ferry was en route from Batam Island to Dumai Island and was reportedly overloaded. The paper quoted rescuers as saying the ship's manifest showed only 213 passengers were on board.

"The number of passengers was more than capacity. We will investigate this violation," Riau Islands Police chief Brig. Gen. Pudji Hartanto was quoted as saying by the website.

Many of the ferry's passengers are still missing. Local officials said the rescue operation could continue for seven days.

Overloading and poor maintenance are often blamed for ferry accidents in Indonesia, which comprises more than 17,000 islands.

In January, as many as 335 people died after a ferry capsized in a cyclone off the coast of western Sulawesi. In December 2006, an overcrowded boat sank in the Java Sea after being hit by a storm, killing more than 400 people.

JAKARTA/MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti)

 

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