Death toll from Indonesia boat accident rises to 15

Relatives look for bodies of a boat sinking at a hospital in Tanjungpinang, Indonesia, Aug 21, 2016.
Relatives look for bodies of a boat sinking at a hospital in Tanjungpinang, Indonesia, Aug 21, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

JAKARTA (AFP) - The death toll from a boat accident off western Indonesia rose to 15 on Monday (Aug 22) after rescuers found five more bodies, an official said.

The small wooden boat was carrying 17 passengers and crew from Bintan Island to nearby Penyengat Island, in Riau province, on Sunday when it sank in rough seas.

Two passengers survived the accident and were taken to hospital in critical condition.

Rescuers retrieved 10 bodies at the weekend and found the final five on Monday, transport ministry spokesman Hemi Pramuraharjo said.

The journey on the small craft fitted with an outboard was supposed to take around an hour.

Indonesia is an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands which is heavily dependent on boat transport, but fatal accidents are common.

More than 60 people died in December when huge waves capsized a ferry near Sulawesi island in central Indonesia.