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Rescuers Search for Indonesia Ferry Survivors, Collect Corpses

Indonesian rescue ships have found scores of bodies in rough seas close to where a ferry with more than 600 passengers on board capsized in the Java Sea early Saturday.

Officials say that, so far, at least 66 bodies have been recovered, and nearly 200 people have been rescued, but that hundreds are still missing.

Waves up to seven meters high were pounding a rescue fleet of navy ships and fishing boats, hampering the search.

On Sunday, helicopters spotted several life rafts carrying survivors, but choppy waters prevented them from rescuing passengers. Rescuers dropped food and water to the rafts, and were planning to return.

The ill-fated ferry was sailing from Kumai in Central Kalimantan province to Semarang in Central Java when it sank.

Survivors say the boat went down in minutes. Officials attributed the accident to stormy weather and said that those who survived stayed on lifeboats and rafts.

Ferries are a cheap and widespread means of transportation among Indonesia's 17,000 islands.

Some information for this report was provided AFP and AP.