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Tugboat Sinks Off Indonesia With 28 Reported Missing

MONDAY, NOV. 17, 1997

A tugboat sank in the strait between Indonesia and Malaysia, and 28 passengers and crew members were missing, a television station reported Sunday.

The wooden tugboat was carrying 40 Indonesian workers from Malaysia to Indonesia’s northernmost province of Aceh, the private RCTI television station said.

According to the report, an Indonesia navy ship and two fishing boats rescued 18 of the passengers in the Straight of Malacca, but 22 others, as well as six crewmen, were still unaccounted for.

The survivors, two of them women, were being treated at a navy hospital in Belawan, about 890 miles northwest of the capital, Jakarta.

There was no indication the accident was related to thick haze from forest fires that have been raging on Sumatra and other Indonesian islands for months.

In September, 29 people died when two ships collided in the strait in an accident that was blamed on poor visibility from the haze.

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