Fifteen people have been confirmed dead and 18 are missing after a boat capsized in the Pacific nation of Kiribati last week, police reportedly said on Wednesday.
The head of the Kiribati police maritime service, John Mote, said 55 people were believed to have been on board a 17-metre double-hulled canoe when it capsized last week, Radio New Zealand International reported.
A total of 22 people survived the incident, which happened as the canoe was taking passengers from the capital Tarawa to the island of Maiana, about 60 kilometres to the south, he said.
The boat capsized during the attempted rescue of a crew member who fell into the water in rough conditions, officials said.
Five people were able to swim ashore to raise the alarm.
Kiribati groups 33 coral atolls straddling the equator, spread over an ocean area equal in size to the continental United States.