78 missing in ferry capsize feared dead

JAKARTA: Hopes faded on Sunday for 78 people missing from a ferry that sank off Indonesia’s eastern island of Sulawesi, officials said, after 37 passengers were pulled alive from rough seas by rescuers in helicopters, fishing vessels and rubber dinghies.

Three people have been found dead in the Gulf of Bone off South Sulawesi since the vessel with 118 on board ran into trouble on Saturday.

Roki Asikin, head of the local rescue team, told Metro TV the search for survivors would resume with daylight on Monday. “We’ve tried our best with all the equipment we have, with the help of the search and rescue team’s helicopters and its Pacitan ship.

We are grateful for fishermen’s help,” Alamsyah, chief of the Disaster Mitigation Agency in the island’s Wajo regency told Reuters. ”But we are worried that more than 24 hours have passed.”

He said waves of up to three metres in height and strong winds had hampered efforts to find survivors during the day.