At least 17 people have been killed and one remains missing in the wake of the wreck of a passenger ferry northeast of the Indonesian island of Java, while 39 occupants were rescued, officials said today.
The ferry capsized because of the bad weather on Monday afternoon when it was traveling from the island of Raas to the port of Sumenep, on the island of Madura, the head of the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas), Budi, told Efe. Prasetyo
The Basarnas official added that the boat was routinely used by miners who cross the distance between the two islands to go to work.
The search and rescue teams continue tracking the disappeared, while the survivors have been transferred to a hospital on the island of Madura.
Authorities are investigating whether the ferry was overloaded and discrepancies between the list of passengers and crew, which could increase the number of missing persons, said East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mengera.
Earlier this month, 17 freighter crewmen died and one survived after four days adrift after capsizing a merchant ship off the east coast of Celebes Island, central region.
Maritime accidents are common in Indonesia due to precarious infrastructure, overloading of passengers and goods, lax compliance with safety regulations and bad weather.
The ship is one of the main means of transport in the Indonesian archipelago, formed by more than 17,000 islands and with a population of more than 265 million inhabitants.