01/04/2007, 00.00
INDONESIA
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Fishermen rescue another 15 suvivors from ferry disaster

The second group of survivors was found after 12 were traced yesterday on an oil platform. Search and rescue operations are proving difficult because of the bad weather that is set to continue in the coming days.

Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Five days after an Indonesian ferry sank, another 15 survivors were found alive. Rescuers battled wind and heavy storms to save a second group of 27 shipwreck survivors. The ferry that was headed for Semarang sank on 29 December with 628 passengers on board in a storm between the islands of Borneo and Java. At least 200 people were saved shortly after the sinking but around 400 people are still missing.

 

Today another 15 survivors were found after 12 were traced yesterday on an oil platform around 200km from the scene of the tragedy. The first group was rescued by an Indonesian war ship, KRI Hiu. The second was found by fishermen near Sumenep, off Madura island, eastern Java. The 15 people were floating in the sea in their life jackets.

 

According to police sources in Sumenep, the survivors just had a few cuts and bruises.

 

Meanwhile, the search continues for other possible survivors but bad weather conditions are hindering operations. Officials of Semarang port said in all 219 people had survived and seven bodies of victims had been recovered. Experts said the storms and rough seas would continue in the coming days with waves between two to four metres high and strong winds.

 

The shipwreck was caused by a storm. Passengers spoke of their panic and confusion in the few minutes that it took the ferry to sink in a violent storm in the waters off Java.

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