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246 survivors rescued after PNG ferry sinking

(Xinhua)

15:25, February 03, 2012

SYDNEY, Feb. 3 (Xinhua) -- The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said on Friday almost 250 survivors had been rescued after a ferry sank off the coast of Papua New Guinea (PNG) on Thursday.

AMSA said updated reports from the five vessels with survivors on board indicated that there were about 246 survivors recovered on Thursday.

It said the five ships carried the survivors to the town of Lae in PNG on Thursday night.

Four AMSA search and rescue personnel arrived in Lae on Thursday evening to provide further assistance to the PNG Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC), AMSA said.

Rony Naigu, a rescue official from PNG's maritime safety authority, said on Friday that about 100 people were believed to have been trapped inside the MV Rabaul Queen when it was hit by three large waves and sank off the PNG's coast.

Earlier on Friday, Rabaul Shipping Company, the owner of the sunken ferry, confirmed there were 350 people and 12 crew members on board.

Three ships, two helicopters and two planes sent from Australia are continuing the search for survivors.

AMSA said it continued to provide assistance to the PNG Maritime Rescue Coordination Center (MRCC).

"AMSA and the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Center are working closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Australian High Commission in Port Moresby,"AMSA said in an incident update published on its website on Friday.

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