At least six killed, others missing after ferry capsizes in storm in Sri Lanka

BY SHANNON NEGEVSKIS, Posted November 4, 2017

At least six people were killed and at least two more have gone missing Saturday morning after a ferry capsized in bad weather in southern Sri Lanka, officials said.

The ship sank because of high waves off the coast of Kegalle district, situated about 225 miles south of the capital, Colombo, Sri Lanka’s defense ministry said.

Authorities are still searching for two people who remain missing, a district official told the government newspaper The Island.

The government released photos from the scene that showed the boat in apparent disarray with boats and wreckage scattered on the coastal waters.

Rescuers have pulled at least 147 people to safety, the defense ministry said, adding that boats from various regions were helping in the search effort.

“The search and rescue operation is ongoing,” the army’s chief of staff, Ranjan Ramanayake, said.

Officials said it is still unclear what caused the ferry to capsize. Local news reports said rain and high waves may have played a role in the accident.

Sri Lanka, which is a country of 20 million people, relies heavily on river ferry services, especially in the areas of its southern coastline.

In 2014, a ferry packed with nearly 350 people collided with a cargo vessel and sank, killing more than 220 people.

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