At least 15 die in Indonesia ferry sinking

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Indonesian rescuers evacuate the victim of a sinking ferry off the coast of Selayar island, in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, July 3, 2018. (Xinhua/Mustafa Syahril)

JAKARTA (AFP) – At least 15 people have died after a passenger ferry sank off the Indonesian island of Java, police said Tuesday, the latest maritime accident to hit the archipelago nation.

The overloaded boat was carrying around 50 people when it overturned Monday in rough seas near Madura island, East Java Police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said.

Search and rescue teams found 13 bodies Tuesday morning, bringing the total number of dead to 15, with 31 survivors.

Rescuers are searching for at least three people officially listed as still missing. But local reports have suggested that there could be more victims not on the official manifest.

“It’s suspected that the boat was overloaded,” Mangera said in a statement.

“The boat was hit by a large wave, overturned and sank.”

The 10-metre (32 foot) long traditional vessel was found by fishermen shortly after it was swamped, he added.

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