Asia

Indonesia boat carrying dozens of people capsizes, killing eight

Rescuers help passengers on board a ferry that capsized at Tanjung Selor, North Kalimantan, 1 January 2018 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is not yet clear what caused the boat to capsize

At least eight people have been killed after a boat carrying more than 40 passengers capsized in central Indonesia, officials say.

Several people are also missing following the incident, Indonesia's national search and rescue agency said.

The vessel, whose passengers included several children, was travelling off the northern part of the island of Borneo when it overturned and sank.

It is not clear what caused the boat, named the Anugrah Express, to capsize.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Rescue teams are searching for several missing passengers, officials said

A spokesman for the rescue agency, Gusti Anwar Mulyadi, said the Anugrah Express was travelling from Tanjung Selor to Tarakan on the Indonesian side of Borneo island when the incident occurred at about 08:15 local time (00:15 GMT) on Monday.

"We don't know yet what caused the accident and how exactly it happened," Mr Mulyadi told AFP news agency, adding: "We are focusing on finding the remaining passengers."

Ferries and small boats are a key form of transport in Indonesia, which is made up of thousands of islands.

But safety records are poor, with vessels often overcrowded and poorly maintained.

On 1 January last year, more than 20 people were killed after a ferry burst into flames shortly after setting sail from a port in Jakarta off the coast of Indonesia.

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