31 Jan '11, 12pm

The death toll from last week's Indonesian passenger ferry fire has climbed to 18.

MERAK (Indonesia) - THE death toll from last week's Indonesian passenger ferry fire has climbed to 18, with five more charred bodies found in the wreckage. The ferry was carrying more than 400 people when it left Merak port on Java island for neighboring Sumatra on Friday. It caught fire while it was still close to shore. Almost all the passengers were rescued, though nearly 200 were injured, some critically. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation. Search and rescue official Dian Rahmanto says the death toll rose to 18 after five more bodies were found on Monday. He says more bodies are probably still trapped inside the ferry. Ferries are a main source of transportation in Indonesia, an archipelago nation with more than 17,000 islands and 235 million people. -- AP

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