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13 missing after ferry sinks in Indonesia

Scores of people were rescued after a ferry sank due to bad weather off the coast of an Indonesian island but 13 others remain missing, a search and rescue official said Tuesday.

The KM Cahaya Arafah, which carried 77 passengers and crew on board, capsized in waters off Indonesia’s Ternate island on Monday evening, as it was sailing to nearby Halmahera island.

Local villagers sailed out in their longboats to help authorities in a vessel with the search-and-rescue operation.

“Sixty-four survivors were evacuated to Tokaka village (near the site of the accident) after villagers found them swimming to the shore,” said Fathur Rahman, head of the local search and rescue agency.

As of 03.30pm local time, authorities were still looking for 13 passengers, Rahman added.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago of around 17,000 islands, where people rely on ferries and small boats to travel around despite poor safety standards.

In May, a ferry carrying more than 800 people ran aground in shallow waters off East Nusa Tenggara province and remained stuck for two days before being dislodged. No one was hurt in that accident.

In 2018, more than 150 people drowned when a ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island.

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