Indonesia Ferry Toll Soars, With 192 Believed Dead



HONG KONG — A ferry that capsized and sank Monday in a lake in Indonesia, leaving as many as 192 people missing and presumed dead, was badly overloaded beyond its capacity of about 40, officials said.

Emergency responders continued to search Lake Toba on the island of Sumatra, but as the possibility of rescuing survivors has faded, they have shifted their focus to finding the boat and the bodies believed to be inside.

“We now consider this a recovery effort rather than a search and rescue due to the amount of time that has elapsed since the sinking,” Wanda Ketaren, a National Disaster Management Agency official, told CNN.

The body of a victim was recovered and taken into port on Wednesday. Only 18 people from the ferry have been rescued.CreditAntara Foto/Reuters

Eighteen survivors were rescued after the sinking, which occurred as large numbers of Indonesians were traveling for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday at the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Photos of the wooden, double-decker ferry taken before the sinking indicated that it had a capacity of about 40 people, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a disaster agency spokesman, said on Twitter.

The lack of a complete manifest has hampered efforts to determine just how many people may have been killed, he said.

Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, is dependent on ferries for transportation, but poor enforcement of safety standards contributes to frequent accidents.

Family members waited for news about missing relatives at a ferry dock on Lake Toba on Wednesday.CreditIvan Damanik/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
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