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Indonesia Scales Down Search for Ferry Survivors


Stormy seas are hampering the search for survivors of Sunday's capsized ferry in Indonesia, where more than 200 people are missing and feared dead.

Authorities said Tuesday there is little chance they will find more survivors. At least 34 people, including the captain, were rescued off the west cost of Sulawesi island. Two bodies were also recovered.

State media said the search has been scaled back because of the rough seas.

Indonesia's transport minister, Jusman Syafii Djamal, said the ferry's captain is being questioned to find out why he embarked without heeding storm warnings.

Survivors said the Teratai Prima flipped over before dawn Sunday as it was battered by waves up to four meters high. Many passengers were asleep and had little time to react.

Officials said the ferry was carrying at least 250 passengers and 17 crew members. It was traveling from Sulawesi to the province of East Kalimantan on the Indonesian part of Borneo island.

Ferries are a key form of travel in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago. Accidents are common because of poor enforcement of safety regulations and overcrowding.

In December 2006, a crowded Indonesian ferry sank in the Java Sea during a storm, killing about 400 people.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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