Indonesia says 17 dead after motorboat sinks in bad weather

INDONESIA : At least 17 people, including four children, died after a motorboat sank in choppy waters off the Indonesian island of Java, a government official said on Tuesday.

The 10-metre (33 ft) wooden vessel with 57 people on board was hit by high waves off Sumenep in East Java province on Monday, said Tholib, a spokesman for the search and rescue agency.

Rescue teams saved 39 passengers and are searching for one missing person, he added.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, has a patchy transportation safety record, with frequent ferry accidents often caused by overcrowding.

Last year, an overcrowded ferry with more than 200 passengers sank in Lake Toba in Sumatra. Eighteen people survived and nearly 200 are thought to have drowned in one of the world’s deepest volcanic lakes.