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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indonesian Boat Sinks, People Aboard

JAKARTA -- An Indonesian ferry that caught fire last week, killing at least 42 people, sank on Sunday as officials and journalists on board scrambled for safety.

At least three people were missing after the incident off Jakarta, witnesses and Indonesian media said. Lativi television said one of its cameramen had been killed.

The Levina I was packed with hundreds of people on their way to Bangka island off Sumatra when it caught fire soon after dawn Thursday, 80 kilometers from Jakarta's Tanjung Priok port.

On Saturday, the scorched hulk was hauled to a point 10 to 16 kilometers from the main port in Jakarta and put at anchor, said Lieutenant-Colonel Hendra Pakan, spokesman of the Indonesian navy's western fleet.

"It had been anchored at the time, but it was tilting on one side," he said.

More than 10 people -- forensic police, transportation safety officials and journalists -- had boarded the ship Sunday when it began to sink.

"Some of us were given life vests, but others were not wearing [them]. Three people have not been found, and two people are in critical condition," SCTV reporter Agus Faisal Karim said.

"We are safe, we are not injured, but all of us panicked. Some of us were in the water for a long time," he added.

Indonesian news agency Antara put the number of missing at five, one journalist, two transportation safety officials and two forensic police staff, and said three others had been hospitalized.

The death toll from the original accident jumped from 20 to 42 on Sunday.

"Fishermen found 21 bodies today," Panji Nirwana of the national search and rescue agency said.

Rescuers later found one more body, another search and rescue official said.

Navy rescue team head Colonel Didin Zainal Abidin said the search for more victims and survivors of Thursday's disaster was continuing.

About 300 of those who were on board survived, but how many were still missing was clouded in confusion because a number of passengers were apparently not listed on the official manifest.

Over the weekend, nine Indonesian navy ships and two helicopters were involved in the search.

Some estimate that scores of passengers could still be missing, based on statements from individuals who say they had relatives on the ferry. Some people might also have been saved without their rescue having been recorded.

It is common in Indonesia for people to sneak onto ferries or to bribe crew to let them on for less than the price of a ticket, meaning their names do not show on the official manifest.

Ferries are a popular means of transport among the 17,000 islands of Indonesia, where sea connections are cheaper and more available than air routes. But safety standards are not always strictly enforced and accidents frequently occur.