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By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead after an Indonesian ferry sank off the coast of Indonesia's South Sulawesi province on Tuesday. According to local authorities, 155 people managed to swim or be pulled to safety, CNN reported.
The accident comes just two weeks after more than 190 people drowned in another Indonesian ferry accident. That accident was one of the worst maritime accidents in the country in decades.
CNN said the latest rescue effort was initially complicated by bad weather. Heavy seas prevented large boats from approaching the KM Lestari Maju ferry and trapped some passengers on the stricken vessel overnight.
The ferry reportedly was over capacity with a total of 189 passengers. In addition to the passengers, the vessel was carrying 48 cars and motorcycles. These vehicles were seen temporarily floating after the sinking, Safety4Sea reported.
Port Side Leak Reportedly Caused Indonesian Ferry to Sink
CNN said a leak on the port side of the ship caused the ferry to quickly run into trouble on rough seas. The accident occurred not far from the coast, near Selayar Island.
Photos from the scene showed passengers in life vests clinging to the side of the ferry as it listed sharply.
As the KM Lestari Maju began taking on water, the captain steered the vessel toward nearby Selayar Island. Then, he deliberately crashed the ferry in the shallows to save as many lives as possible, said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, a spokesman for Indonesia's disaster management agency.