Indonesia ferry sinks – at least 26 people still missing
- The country’s search and rescue agency said the vessel was carrying 43 people when it capsized on Thursday in the Makassar Strait; 17 people were rescued
- The boat, Ladang Pertiwi, is believed to have run out of fuel and been trapped in bad weather; group of 40 rescuers were at sea searching for survivors
Twenty-six people were missing Saturday after a ferry ran out of fuel and sank in bad weather off the coast of Indonesia, officials said.
The country’s search and rescue agency said the vessel was carrying 43 people when it capsized on Thursday in the Makassar Strait, the sea separating the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo.
News of the accident only reached officials on Saturday, the local head of search and rescue Djuanidi, who like many Indonesians goes by only one name, said.
“Seventeen people have been rescued alive by two tugboats that were passing by. We have deployed a rescue team to search for the missing others,” he said.
A group of 40 rescuers were at sea searching for survivors, Djuanidi added.
He also said that although an official record shows the boat was carrying 43 passengers, there might have been around 60 passengers on board based on another information his office had received.
The passenger boat was on its way from Makassar’s Paotere Harbour to Kalmas Island, about 45 kilometres away, when it sank around 3.30am local time on Thursday, according to the regional office of the Search and Rescue Agency.
The boat, Ladang Pertiwi, is believed to have run out of fuel and been trapped in bad weather, the agency in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar added.
Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago of around 17,000 islands where safety standards are often lax.
Last week a ferry carrying more than 800 people ran aground in shallow waters off East Nusa Tenggara province and remained stuck for two days before being dislodged. No one was hurt.
In 2018 more than 150 people drowned when a ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island.
Additional reporting by Kyodo