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World Briefing / Tonga

62 feared dead as ferry capsizes

August 07, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Giving women and children the comfort of cabins while men stayed on deck may have doomed them to be trapped inside an overnight ferry that capsized in heavy seas off Tonga, officials said. Dozens are missing and feared dead.

Tongan Police Commander Chris Kelly said that the Princess Ashika was carrying 117 passengers and crew -- "62 of them unaccounted for" -- when it went down around midnight Wednesday, about 55 miles northeast of the South Pacific nation's capital, Nuku'alofa.

The 62 missing included four crewmen, 19 male passengers, 21 female passengers, seven children and several names that could be male or female, he told New Zealand's National Radio.

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