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More than 60 missing in Tonga ferry sinking

world Updated: Aug 07, 2009 08:05 IST
More than 60 missing in Tonga ferry sinking

More than 60 people are now believed to be missing following the sinking of a ferry sailing between the Tongan capital Nuku'alofa and an outer island on Wednesday night.

Tonga's police commander Chris Kelly, who was coordinating the search for survivors, said that a revised manifest listed 117 people on board the Princess Ashika ferry.

Kelly said that two bodies have been recovered, 53 people have survived and 62 others are still missing, Radio New Zealand reported Friday.

Previously it was thought that 33 people were unaccounted for.

One of the bodies recovered is that of a British man who was carrying a New Zealand driver's licence.

Tonga's Prime Minister Feleti Sevele has asked New Zealand and Australia to send navy divers to help recover bodies from the sunken ferry.

Sevele said it is believed those who are missing went down with the ship, which has been located at a depth of some 35 meters.

Sevele added that the cause of the sinking remains unknown, but there were no concerns over the vessel's seaworthiness, as it had passed safety inspections and was found to be suitable for Lloyd's insurance.

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