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15 drowned, 50 missing in ferry accident in the Maldives
Updated: 2004-03-18 13:33

At least 15 people drowned and 50 were missing after their overcrowded ferry capsized in the Maldives, officials said Thursday.

So far, 99 people had been rescued and search teams were looking for additional survivors.

The overcrowded ferry was carrying far more than its capacity when a wave overturned it late Wednesday, a senior police official said on condition of anonymity.

The bodies of ten women and five children, including an infant, had been recovered, hospital officials said.

The passengers were mostly spectators who were traveling back to Thinadhoo island after watching their home team play at a football tournament on a neighboring island.

Thinadhoo is about 320 kilometers (200 miles) from the capital Male.
The Maldives, a popular tourist destination, is a chain of 1,192 coral atolls southwest of India with a population of 278,000.

The official said there were no reports that foreigners were aboard the vessel.

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