Dozens dead in Indonesia ferry sinking

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At least 34 people have been confirmed dead in a ferry sinking off the coast of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province.

SOUTH SULAWESI, Indonesia – At least 34 people have been confirmed dead in a ferry sinking off the coast of Indonesia’s South Sulawesi province.

Images from the scene Tuesday showed passengers in bright orange life vests clinging to the side of the KM Lestari Maju as it tilted sharply into the water not far from the coast of Bulukumba regency, near Selayar Island.

Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for Indonesia’s disaster management agency, said 155 people had managed to swim or be pulled to safety.

Indonesia’s state news agency’s Antara reported that a leak had caused the ferry to start taking on water.

The rescue effort was initially complicated by the bad weather, which prevented large boats from approaching the wreck. However, a fleet of smaller boats — including local fishing vessels — stepped in to help.

Deadly maritime accidents are not uncommon in Indonesia. Tuesday’s sinking comes two weeks after another ferry accident in a volcanic lake in Sumatra.

More than 190 people were presumed drowned in that incident, said to be one of the worst maritime accidents in the country for decades.

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