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MERAUKE, Irian Jaya, Indonesia (October 20, 1999 – Kabar Irian)---More than 250 people are reported missing and feared dead after a passenger ship sank off the coast of the remote Indonesian province of Irian Jaya on the island of New Guinea.

The ship, the KM Bimas Raya II, which was carrying about 300 passengers, sank on Monday off the Merauke district of Irian Jaya, the state news agency Antara reported.

"Only 26 out of some 300 passengers of the ship have been found," an official of the owner company, PT Bimas Raya, was quoted as saying.

A few minutes before it sank, the ship's captain sent an emergency message to the PT Bimas Raya radio frequency, saying that the ship was in a critical condition.

The shipping company has sent several ships to the area to search for survivors.

There was no immediate information on what had caused the sinking.



JAKARTA, Indonesia (October 21, 1999 - Jakarta Post/Kabar Irian)---Rescue workers are still searching for hundreds of passengers who were on board the KM Bimas Raya II ferry which sank in the waters of Habe off Merauke regency, Irian Jaya on Monday evening, Antara reported on Wednesday.

An official of PT Bimas Raya, the owner of the ship, said in Merauke on Tuesday evening that only 26 of some 300 passengers traveling on the ferry were found.

The KM Bimas Raya II reportedly sank on its way back to Merauke seaport from its route along the rivers in the eastern part of Irian Jaya.

A few minutes before it sank, the ship's captain transmitted an emergency message to the PT Bimas Raya receiving station in Merauke, saying that the ship was in critical condition.

Radio transmission was cut off a few minutes later, and officials believe that was when the ferry sunk.

There is no further information on the cause of incident.

The company sent KM Bimas Raya I, along with four other ships from several shipping companies, to search for survivors.

Meanwhile, the families of ferry passengers flocked the PT Bimas Raya office on Wednesday to get information on their relatives.

KABAR IRIAN ("Irian News") Website: http://www.irja.org/

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