Search and rescue crews have been deployed off the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, where a ferry carrying around 350 people sank early Thursday morning.
Officials with the Pacific nation’s maritime safety agency say 28 people have been rescued from the site of the disaster.
The ferry’s operator says it lost contact with the MV Rabual Queen early Thursday. The vessel was traveling between the island of New Britain and the town of Lae.
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard said her country was helping Papua New Guinea respond to the disaster. Ms. Gillard says the disaster is “obviously a major tragedy.”