Death toll in Indonesia boat sinking climbs to 18



Samarinda (Indonesia): The death toll from a boat accident in the Indonesian part of Borneo island rose to 18 on Friday with five people still missing, a provincial governor said.

The boat carrying workers from a plywood company sank on Wednesday after being hit by a huge wave as it travelled across the Mahakam River in East Kalimantan province.

Provincial governor Awang Faroek Ishak said a total of 18 bodies had now been pulled from the water, up from a death toll of three yesterday.

"Twenty-one people have been rescued, and we will continue to search for the five passengers still missing," Ishak said in a statement.

There had been conflicting reports about the numbers on the boat, but the governor said it was now confirmed it had been carrying 44.

Disaster agency official Wahyu Didit said none of the bodies recovered were wearing life jackets.

Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, where vessels have a poor safety record and the population of 240 million is scattered over a vast archipelago of more than 17,000 islands.

AFP