Source AP ©

Two children dead and dozens missing after ship capsizes in Indonesia

Two children were found dead and dozens of people are still missing after a ship carrying 59 people capsized in stormy weather in Indonesia.

Thirty-seven survivors were plucked from the sea by a passing oil tanker and fishermen after the boat was pounded by 4-meter (13-foot) waves in the dead of night Tuesday, said Tumorang Hutasoit, the head of the Ambon Port Authority.

All were wearing life vests, handed out minutes before the ship capsized, witnesses said.

"The ship sank slowly and we jumped into the dark and rough sea," said Nasaruddin, 39, who goes by one name. He was taken to a nearby island after drifting for 15 hours. His 30-year-old niece is among the missing. "We were all panicking, but the crew calmed us down."

The KM Wahai Star had been on a regular voyage from Buru island to Ambon, the capital of Maluku province, and was carrying 42 passengers and 17 crew, survivors said. The cause of the accident was unclear, but port officials said a broken engine may have hampered the crew's attempts to navigate the storm.

Six ships combed the area on Thursday, but heavy rain and stormy seas were making the search difficult.

The bodies of two children were found drifting in waters near Ambon in the Banda Sea, about 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) east of the capital, Jakarta, said Hutasoit, the port official.

Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic nation, has been hit by a series of sea transportation disasters in recent months. In late December, a passenger ferry sank in a storm in the Java Sea, killing more than 400 people.

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