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Divers search for 192

Distraught relatives slammed Indonesia's government for not enforcing basic safety measures on passenger boats and pleaded Wednesday for a bigger search effort for more than 190 people presumed drowned after a ferry sank on a picturesque Sumatran lake early this week.

The wooden vessel, overcrowded with passengers as well as dozens of motorbikes, didn't have a manifest and disaster officials have several times raised the number of people it was carrying as family members who rushed to Lake Toba in northern Sumatra provided information.

The boat was five times over its passenger capacity of 43 and equipped with only 45 life jackets, Transport Minister Budi Karya Sumadi and National Search and Rescue Agency chief Muhammad Syaugi told a news conference. The latest information is that 192 people are missing, Syaugi said.

Only 18 survivors have been found — in bad weather within hours of the sinking Monday evening, which according to Syaugi occurred in waters at least 300 metres (984 feet) deep but only half a kilometre (0.3 mile) from an island that's popular with visitors to the lake.

It's possible many of the victims were still inside the sunken ferry, said North Sumatra province police chief Paulus Waterpau.



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