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Rescuers battle high waves in search of ferry survivors

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Search and rescue workers are seen on a boat used in the search for passengers from the Sinar Bangun ferry that sank in Lake Toba in Simalungun, North Sumatra, Indonesia June 19, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. REUTERS

Indonesia (Reuters) – Indonesian rescue workers fought heavy rains and two-meter waves yesterday in a search for survivors after a ferry with at least 80 passengers on board sank in Lake Toba, a popular tourist destination in North Sumatra.

An estimated 18 people had been rescued and one passenger was confirmed dead after the ferry sank on Monday. Some 100 rescue personnel, including military and police officials, were deployed in the search.

It was not immediately clear if foreigners were among the missing passengers.

The wooden ferry had a capacity of 60 passengers but may have been carrying 80 people and dozens of motorcycles on Monday, said Sri Hardianto, an official at Indonesia’s transport ministry.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said there were unconfirmed reports of up to 130 people on board the ferry, which was hit by high waves and strong winds.

Video footage provided by the agency showed people on another ferry throwing life preservers and life jackets to several people in the water on Monday evening.

On Tuesday, distressed relatives of missing passengers held each other and cried as they waited for news at Tigaras Port, according to pictures from the scene.

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