January 21, 1996 in Nation/World

Weather Slows Search For Ferry Survivors

Associated Press
 

High waves and strong winds hampered the search Saturday for survivors of a ferry that sank in a storm off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra. More than 130 people were missing and 54 confirmed dead.

Thirty-nine people were found alive, including an unidentified American woman who worked for the aid group Save the Children and a 6-year-old child who had been drifting about an hour in rough seas.

The ferry went down with 210 passengers - including 11 foreigners - and 16 crew members around 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Indonesia’s official news agency, Antara, said the ship slammed into a coral reef. A port official said the ferry had reported engine trouble earlier in the day.

The news agency later quoted a survivor as saying the ferry sank after being hit by huge waves.

“It happened so fast… the passengers were screaming while jumping into the sea,” said Haji Amin, who swam about a hour before he was rescued. He was wearing a lifebelt.

The state-run ferry Gurita sank about an hour after leaving Malahayati, on northern Sumatra, about 1,100 miles northwest of Jakarta, the Indonesian capital, Amri said.

© Copyright 1996 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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