Boat in danger of sinking off Indonesia with 122 passengers aboard

JAKARTA, Indonesia -- Rescuers were battling high waves late Saturday as they rushed to reach 122 people aboard a passenger boat that was in danger of sinking in central Indonesia.

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The fiberglass boat was on its way from Kolaka to Siwa, towns on Sulawesi island, carrying 108 passengers and 14 crew members when it was caught in high waves Saturday afternoon, said Roki Asikin, who heads the search and rescue agency in South Sulawesi province. The passengers include 14 children.

Asikin said the boat was hit by waves more than 3 metres (10 feet) high amid stormy weather about 21 kilometres (13 miles) southeast of Wajo island, causing it to spring a leak.

The latest contact received from the boat's captain said that all people on board were trying to survive, but that water was starting to enter the boat, Asikin said.

Six rescue boats and ships were sent from Central and South Sulawesi provinces, he said.

The rescue vessels were being hampered by high waves. Asikin said he expects them to arrive at the boat's location in the very early hours of Sunday.

Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago nation of more than 17,000 islands, due mainly to overcrowding and poor safety standards.



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