Scores feared dead in Indonesia sinking 

Sea travel is an essential part of life on the unusually shaped island of Sulawesi. Source: Flickr

A ship carrying 118 passengers and 12 crew lost power in rough seas off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Saturday.

Rescuers had so far pulled at least 39 survivors from the water but also found three bodies, the authorities said.

Rescue chief Roki Asikin said four survivors were found clinging to buoys in the open sea about 15 nautical miles from the coast of Sulawesi. “These waves are very high,” he said. “It took three hours to evacuate to the mainland.”

The passengers included 14 children, he said.

The crew reported that their fibreglass boat sank hours after being hit by 10-foot-high waves.

One report said the ship had left Kolaka in the Southeast Sulawesi province on Saturday bound for South Sulawesi across the Gulf of Boni.

Earlier Sunday, fishermen found four people, including a woman and a child wearing life jackets. 

It is the second maritime incident in Indonesia this week. On Wednesday a cargo vessel struck a chemical tanker and sank off western Indonesia.

Six Filipino crew are missing and are feared dead after the incident off the island of Batam, while another six people were found safely.

The collision with the chemical tanker, Stolt Commitment, ripped a lhole in the Danish cargo ship, Thorco Cloud. 

Meanwhile, an Indonesian jet fighter crashed at an air show and exploded on Sunday, killing both pilots. No one on the ground was injured.

The KAI T-50 Golden Eagle, a US-South Korean attack aircraft, lost control and crashed into an air force base in Yogyakarta in Java, according to witnesses.

Television news showed black smoke coming from the wreckage as the plane exploded.

The trainer aircraft was one of 16 bought by the air force last year.

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