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Indonesia: 8 killed, scores missing after ferry sinks off Sumatra island


JAKARTA, (Xinhua): At least 8 people were killed and scores were missing after a ferry with over 200 people on board sank following collision with a tanker ship in waters off Lampung province on Sumatra island, Indonesia early Wednesday, an official said.

Ferry Bahuga Jaya sailed from Merak port in Banten province on Java island to Bakauheni port on Sumatra island when it was hit by a Norr Gaster tanker ship at 4:58 a.m. Jakarta time at a location 4 miles from Bakauheni port and it sank about one hour later, Budiharto, head of the disaster management and mitigation agency in Lampung province, told Xinhua by phone.

"So far, eight people are dead and 215 people have been rescued, but search and rescue operation is still underway for the missing people," he said.

But Budiharto could not confirm the number of missing people whom the rescuers estimated at scores.

Meanwhile, a senior transport official stationed in Java's Merak seaport said that 7 passengers were confirmed dead, while 215 were evacuated from the collision scene in Sunda strait that separates Indonesia's Java and Sumatra islands early Wednesday morning, local TV station reported.

"The collision occurred on 4.50 a.m. near Rimau Balak island, a few minutes away from Sumatra's Lampung seaport. Seven were confirmed dead in the collision and 215 were evacuated by vessels engaged in rescue," Supriyanto, a senior official of Sea and Lake Transport Firm Association (ASDP) at Java's Merak seaport branch said in the report broadcast by Metro TV.

The report said that the ferry was ripped by the tanker, leading to the sinking of the ferry.

The death toll is expected to increase as rescue efforts are underway at the moment.

Editor: Bi Mingxin

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