Indonesia: Passengers jump into sea as ferry sinks

2016-03-04 21:15
Residents watch as rescuers search for survivors at the site where a ferry sank off Banyuwangi, Indonesia. (AP)

Residents watch as rescuers search for survivors at the site where a ferry sank off Banyuwangi, Indonesia. (AP)

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Jakarta - A ferry capsized in the strait between the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java on Friday and TV video showed passengers standing on its side, then jumping into the sea as it sank in placid waters. Officials said 71 people were rescued and at least four were still missing.

Didi Hamzar, head of Bali's Search and Rescue Agency, said the ship's manifest listed 51 people on board including 14 crew. Passenger boats are frequently overloaded beyond their manifests in Indonesia.

Video broadcast by TVOne showed other ships in the background as the ferry, Rafelia 2, sank in the narrow Bali Strait. It languished on its side before capsizing.

Boats are a popular and relatively cheap form of transportation in the world's largest archipelago nation, which spans more than 17 000 islands with a population of 256 million. Sea accidents are common, with safety regulations often poorly enforced.

The ferry was travelling from Gilimanuk port in Bali to Banyuwangi on Java. The cause of the accident was under investigation.

Local navy chief Lieutenant Colonel Wahyu Endriawan said 71 people were rescued.

"We cannot yet know whether some were trapped inside the ship which has totally submerged," he told MetroTV.

Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesperson Sutopo Purwo Nugroho also said 71 people were rescued while four others - the captain, a deck officer, and a woman and child - were still missing.

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