Survivors from the boat that sank in the sea between Sapudi and Gili islands receive treatment at Dungkek health centre in Sumenep, East Java province. Picture: Antara Foto/Saiful Bahri via Reuters

Jakarta - At least 17 people, including four children, died after a motorboat sank in choppy waters off the Indonesian island of Java, a government official said on Tuesday.

The 10-metre (33 ft) wooden vessel with 57 people on board was hit by high waves off Sumenep in East Java province on Monday, said Tholib, a spokesman for the search and rescue agency.

Rescue teams saved 39 passengers and are searching for one missing person, he added.

Indonesia, a vast archipelago, has a patchy transportation safety record, with frequent ferry accidents often caused by overcrowding.

A man carries a girl who survived a boat accident in the sea between Sapudi and Gili islands, at Dungkek district in Sumenep, East Java province. Picture: Antara Foto/Saiful Bahri via Reuters


A relative of a passenger of a boat that sank in the sea between Sapudi and Gili islands cries as he checks a body bag at Dungkek district in Sumenep, East Java province. Picture: Antara Foto/Saiful Bahri via Reuters


Men arrange body bags containing victims from the boat that sank in the sea between Sapudi and Gili islands, East Java province. Picture: Antara Foto/Saiful Bahri via Reuters

Last year, an overcrowded ferry with more than 200 passengers sank in Lake Toba in Sumatra. Eighteen people survived and nearly 200 are thought to have drowned in one of the world's deepest volcanic lakes. 

Reuters