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World Briefing / Tonga

93 missing from ferry

August 09, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Ninety-three people were missing and feared dead after their ferry flipped and sank off Tonga, as divers continued to try to locate the sunken vessel in the deep waters near the South Pacific nation.

Police Chief Inspector Sokopeti To'ia said the latest count of those aboard the ferry was 149. Of those, 54 people were rescued and two bodies recovered, leaving 93 missing. The dead are a British man living in New Zealand and a Polynesian woman.

To'ia said the number of missing could change as police try to sort out exactly who was aboard the Princess Ashika when it went down at midnight Wednesday while carrying passengers and cargo from the capital, Nuku'alofa, to outlying northern islands.

Navy divers from Australia and New Zealand arrived Saturday to help comb the wreck for bodies, but came up empty in their first attempt, To'ia said.

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