Death toll from Indonesia ferry accident climbs to 16

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MAKASSAR, Indonesia, June 14, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The death toll from a ferry
accident in central Indonesia has climbed to 16 and two people are still
missing, an official said Thursday.

Divers scouring the wreckage at a depth of 12 metres (39 feet) recovered
the bodies of two young girls, aged seven and 12, in the boat’s engine room
Thursday morning, local disaster agency Ade Hamsidari said.

One person died in hospital Thursday afternoon and 55 have been rescued.

Some 73 passengers and crew were aboard the traditional wooden boat —
known locally as a jolloro — when it hit rough seas and sank as it travelled
from Makassar, the provincial capital of South Sulawesi, to the tiny resort
island of Barrang Lompo.

Police say the boat was overloaded and have launched an investigation into
the disaster, while rescuers will continue looking for victims for several
more days.

The passengers were thought to be Barrang Lompo natives who work in
Makassar and were heading home to spend the Islamic holiday Eid al-Fitr with
their families.

Almost 32 million Indonesians are on the move this week in the annual Eid
exodus, according to official figures.

The sinking is the latest in a string of deadly maritime accidents in the
vast Indonesian archipelago, which relies heavily on boats to ferry people
around its 17,000 islands but has a patchy safety record.

On New Year’s Day, nine people died after a passenger boat capsized when
travelling from the city of Tarakan to Tanjung Selor on Borneo island.

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