China / World

Death toll climbs to 63 in ferry accident

By Agence France-Presse in Jakarta (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-26 08:00

The death toll from a ferry disaster in central Indonesia has risen to 63 with a handful of people still missing as the search and rescue operation winds down, an official said on Friday.

Search and rescue agency chief Bambang Soelistyo said as of Friday morning 103 passengers aboard the ill-fated boat had been recovered, with just 40 found alive.

"If the information is correct, we are still searching for 15 other missing people," Soelistyo said, adding that all the bodies found so far were within the search area.

The ferry operator said the boat was carrying 116 people when it ran into trouble, but Soelistyo said there were two canteen staff who were not mentioned on the manifest.

Ten vessels - including navy warships - and two aircraft are scouring the seas for any sign of the missing.

Soelistyo said according to the initial plan, the search should end on Saturday but could be extended depending on a final evaluation of the operation.

The ferry sank in rough seas on Dec 19 with survivors describing massive waves smashing into the vessel before the engine died and the order was given to abandon ship.

Hot Topics