Indonesia ferry sinks leaving 1 confirmed dead, dozens missing

A woman cries as she finds out her family is one of missing passengers at Lake Toba ferry port in the province of North Sumatra after a boat overturned

A search and rescue team heads out to look for passengers from the KM Sinar Bangun ferry which sank yesterday in Lake Toba, Simalungun, North Sumatra, Indonesia June 19, 2018 in this photo taken by Antara Foto.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said earlier there were unconfirmed reports of up to 130 people on board the ferry, which was hit by high waves and strong winds.

Video footage provided by the agency showed people on another ferry throwing life preservers and life jackets to several people in the water. Distraught relatives have gathered at major ferry docks on the lake, hoping for news of missing family members.

A search and rescue official told Reuters "many people have reported their relatives missing" after a coordination meeting as rescue workers fought heavy rains and two-metre high waves in a search for survivors. Budiawan, who uses one name, said the vessel did not have a passenger manifest.

"I was desperate. I was scared to death. I'm afraid my family is dead", she said, weeping.

Lake Toba, a popular tourist destination promoted by the government, fills the caldera of a giant dormant volcano and is the largest lake in Indonesia and one of the deepest in the world.

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Muslim-majority Indonesia has been celebrating the Islamic festival of Eid since Friday and millions go on holiday during the festivities, with Lake Toba a key tourist destination.

Nugroho added that search and rescue efforts had involved two other ferries and one wooden boat had been hampered by weather conditions in the area last night.

It said bad weather continues to hamper the search of a lake has depths of more than 400 meters (1,300 feet).

Maher Tamba, an official with the local disaster agency, said at least half a dozen vessels were searching for survivors.

Ferry tragedies are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, due to weak enforcement of safety regulations.

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