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Divers, drone join search for 192 missing in ferry disaster

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Search and rescue personnel look for missing passengers from Monday's ferry accident at Lake Toba in Simalungun, North Sumatra, Indonesia June 20, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

TIGARAS, Indonesia (Reuters) – Divers and an underwater drone joined a fleet of rescue vessels in Indonesia’s search for at least 192 passengers missing two days after an overcrowded wooden ferrysank in one of the world’s deepest volcanic lakes in Sumatra.

Authorities are unable to confirm how many were aboard when the vessel sank on Monday in bad weather, since it did not have a manifest. Four were confirmed dead and 18 survivors picked up, but officials fear the death toll could be much higher.

Tearful relatives waiting for news gathered at the small port of Tigaras on Lake Toba. Search teams expect to find many more trapped victims once they know where the vessel came to rest in the lake, which is 450 m (1,500 feet) deep.

A team of 25 divers, including marines, was searching for the vessel, along with a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) that can operate up to a depth of 380 m (1,247 ft), he added.

The first team of divers encountered poor visibility and freezing cold when it got to a depth of 50 metres (164 ft), said Muhammad Syaugi, head of the national search and rescue agency.

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