sinks off Indonesian island
A passenger ferry has capsized off the
Indonesian island of Sulawesi, leaving
at least 23 people dead, officials say.
rThe Acita III went down on Thursday night about
500m (0.31 miles) off the south-eastern city of
Dozens were rescued after local people heard screams
and went to help, officials said. Rescue teams
are searching the area for more survivors.
The cause of the accident has not been confirmed,
but local officials said the ferry had been seriously
The head of the local rescue team said the ferry
had tipped over as it was coming into shore, when
scores of passengers suddenly climbed onto the
upper deck to get mobile phone signals.
Roki Kendari said the wooden boat should not have
been carrying more than 30 people.
Rescue teams have been using speedboats to search
for more survivors, while the injured have been
taken to a nearby hospital in south-east Sulawesi.
The BBC's Rebecca Henschke in Jakarta says it is
the peak holiday season in Indonesia, with millions
of people travelling across the archipelago to
celebrate the local Islamic festival of Liburan.
Ferries are the main cheap source of transport
in a country of 17,000 islands, but overcrowding
and poorly enforced safety standards mean accidents
are common, our correspondent says.
More than 40 people died when a fire broke out
aboard a ferry travelling from Jakarta in February,
and at least 400 people were killed when a ferry
sank in a storm off Java in December.