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More bodies found in Indonesia’s boat disasters over Muslim holiday; death toll up to 34

Rescuers carry the body of one of the victims of a boat accident in North Sumatra, Indonesia, Friday, Aug. 1, 2014.

AP

Rescuers in Indonesia recovered more bodies after vessels carrying villagers to celebrations of a Muslim holiday capsized in two separate rivers, raising the death toll to 34, officials said Friday.

Seventeen bodies were pulled out from the Barombang River in North Sumatra province, where a boat carrying 48 villagers sank early Thursday after hitting a stump in the river, said Mujiono, an official of the local disaster agency. Among the dead were six children between the ages of 7 months and 11 years.

Twenty-eight passengers have been rescued, said Mujiono, who uses a single name. He added three others were still missing.

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It was the second fatal boat capsizing in three days related to celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Millions of Muslims across the country travel to their hometowns to celebrate the weeklong holiday with their families.

In Central Kalimantan, rescuers pulled out two more bodies in the Kapuas River, where a ferry carrying more than 70 people capsized Tuesday, pushing the death toll to 17, said Benny Nurwansyah of the national disaster agency.

There were 51 survivors, he said.

Boats and ferries are popular means of transportation in the Indonesian archipelago, and accidents due to overcrowding and poor safety standards are common.

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