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Nine dead in Indonesian boat accident

Nine people drowned when their commuter speedboat overturned in a crocodile-infested river in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province, police said on Tuesday.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2003 10:20 IST

Nine people drowned when their commuter speedboat overturned in a crocodile-infested river in Indonesia's East Kalimantan province, police said on Tuesday.

Four other passengers are missing after the Sunday morning accident in the Malinau River which witnesses suspect contains crocodiles, Erwin Triwanto, police chief of Balungan district, told AFP by telephone.

The fibreglass boat was on a regular commuter run from Tarakan to Malinau in the province on Borneo island, Triwanto said. It was travelling at more than 35 knots when it hit some logs in the water and flipped over in a remote area.

Twenty passengers managed to swim to the riverbank and another passing speedboat assisted in their rescue, he said.

Among the nine dead was a teenager and a doctor who had been visiting patients in the region. Another doctor was among the missing, Triwanto said.

Witnesses recently reported that they suspected a crocodile of eating a resident whose corpse was found in the river in an unrelated case, he said.

Boats are a common form of public transport in Indonesia's vast archipelago.

First Published: Jul 02, 2003 10:20 IST