26 missing in Indonesian boat accident

26 missing in Indonesian boat accident

Search continues for survivors after craft capsizes off Sulawesi

Indonesian rescuers evacuate hundreds of passengers from the ferry KM Sirimau after it ran aground off the coast of Lembata on May 19. No one was hurt, but the incident underlined the risks of boat transport in the archipelago. (AFP Photo)
Indonesian rescuers evacuate hundreds of passengers from the ferry KM Sirimau after it ran aground off the coast of Lembata on May 19. No one was hurt, but the incident underlined the risks of boat transport in the archipelago. (AFP Photo)

MAKASSAR, Indonesia: Indonesian rescue teams were looking for 26 people missing on Saturday after a boat with 43 people on board capsized off Sulawesi island.

The motorboat that had left Paotere port in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, at midnight Thursday was reported missing the next day when it failed to arrive its destination, local media reported.

Rescued passengers were picked up by tugboats and taken to Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and Jeneponto in South Sulawesi, South Sulawesi search and rescue agency chief Djunaidi said on Saturday.

Authorities said they think the accident was caused by a fuel shortage and bad weather.

“We have confirmation that the boat had sunk in the search area,” Djunaidi said. “We received information saying that 17 people were found and saved by passing tugboats.”

The weather agency had warned on Thursday of waves up to 2.5 metres in Makassar strait areas and that they could cause safety risks.

A group of 40 rescuers were at sea searching for survivors, Djuanidi said.

Marine accidents are common in Indonesia, an 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.


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