The boat owned by the government went down at 8.10 am local time when sailing through the waters off Terangan Aru Selatan in the province's district of Kepulauan Aru, Head of the Provincial Search and Rescue Office Muslimin Samaila said.
Personnel of the office immediately headed to the scene after obtaining a report from the head of local fishery office about the accident, he said.
"Head of the Fishery Office said that he had got the information from the crew about the accident just before the boat sank. The official confirmed that the boat has capsized," he told Xinhua via phone.
However, Samaila said poor weather condition had hampered the rescuers to reach the site of the mishap, while another ship trying to rescue the victims also failed to make for the area.
"Extreme weather, huge waves with height of more than two meters high, strong winds and heavy downpours have occurred in the sea. These hamper the rescuers' movement, making them back off the efforts," he said.
Now, the rescuers are waiting for the extreme weather to subside. - Xinhua/Asian News Editor
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