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Indonesia boat sinks, many missing

A boat loaded with people in a Good Friday procession has capsized in high waves off eastern Indonesia, leaving dozens of people missing and at least seven dead.

Rescuers and fishermen saved 30 injured people who were rushed to a hospital, police said. The fishing boat was designed to hold only 30 people but had more than 70 aboard.

It was participating in a Good Friday ceremony that involves parading a Virgin Mary statue at sea before the passengers headed into Larantuka town in East Nusatenggara province for prayers and processions.

With strong currents and high waves off Flores island, the boat began to tip and many people panicked. It sank shortly after a two-metre (6.5-ft) wave crashed into it. The accident occurred close to the shore packed with hundreds of villagers watching the ceremony.

The rescuers were continuing to look for more survivors. The seven bodies pulled from the water included three children and a nun.

Boats and ferries are a popular form of transport in the vast Indonesian archipelago, and accidents due to overcrowding and poor safety standards are common.

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