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217 still missing as refugee ship sinks off Indonesia

(Xinhua)

09:13, December 19, 2011

JAKARTA, Dec. 18 (Xinhua) -- The search and rescue operation at the second day on Sunday for about 217 missing migrants, as their wooden ship sank in waters off Trengglek district of East Java on Saturday, fails to find any one of them, a rescuer said.

The small ship was carrying 250 asylum seekers, most of whom are from the Middle East including Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq. 33 of them had been rescued, a rescuer named Purwanto from the East Java Search and Rescue Office Kelik Enggar Purwanto told Xinhua by phone from the district.

About 500 navy officers, marine policemen and sailors had combed the waters where the ship was predicted to be broken after being hit by huge waves, he said.

The searching involved two warships, two vessels and three helicopters, said Purwanto.

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