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Passenger Ferry Sinks in Lombok Straits

5 Confirmed Dead, at Least 9 Missing.

(9/8/2003) An inter-island ferry - KMP Wimala Dharma, operating between Lombok and Bali sunk in the early hours of Sunday, September 7, 2003 just off the coast of Candi Dasa off Bali's eastern shore.

According to reports in the Bali Post, the ship, which sunk rapidly in calm seas, had departed Padangbai with 149 paying passengers aboard; a number at variance with the 182 passengers thus far rescued from the sinking vessel. While press reports indicate 5 have died and 9 are missing as a result of the sinking, it is likely that this number will grow as the total complement of crew and passengers remains uncertain.

The cause of the sinking remains unclear.

The many passengers who survived the tragedy were assisted by a number of commercial vessels who came to the aid of the foundering vessel.