Four dead, dozens missing in Indonesian boat sinking: media

by AFP/ pic by AFP

JAKARTA – At least four people have died and dozens more are missing after an Indonesian fishing boat sunk off the coast of Borneo island, according to media reports citing a local official.

Rescuers have deployed several boats and an airplane to search the waters for 31 still-missing crew after the sinking, local media said, which reportedly happened on Wednesday.

The vessel lost radio contact and officials only became aware of the accident Friday after another boat found four bodies and two survivors near Matasiri island in the Java Sea, local portmaster Mugen Suprihatin Sartoto said.

“We think that the boat’s distress radio beacon was broken,” Sartoto told Metro TV.

Rescue efforts have been hampered by high waves and bad weather, he said, adding that that the search would continue for a week.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, an archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands, where many use ferries and other boats to travel despite poor safety standards.

Some 160 people died when an Indonesian ferry sunk into the depths of one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island last year.

More than 300 people are estimated to have drowned in 2009 when a ferry sank between Sulawesi and Borneo.