More than 70 still missing, 40 rescued and 3 confirmed dead since boat overcome by large waves Saturday
By Ainur Rohmah
JAKARTA – Indonesian fishermen rescued Tuesday a survivor from a boat that sank in the waters off Sulawesi island, as teams continued searching for more than 70 others who remain missing.
Awaluddin, a police official in Palopo city who like many Indonesians uses only one name, told the Tribune Makassar newspaper, “the victim was found alive.”
Meanwhile, the chief of nearby Luwu regency’s transportation department said a fisherman had reported seeing around 10 bodies floating on the sea Monday, two days after the vessel – whose manifest says 116 people were on board — was overcome by large waves.
“The fisherman saw bodies, some without clothes. But he did not dare to evacuate them as he was alone,” Tempo.co quoted Rudi Dappi as saying Tuesday.
Dappi said before leaving the area, the fisherman — Andi Imran – retrieved some objects near the bodies including a life vest inscribed with the boat’s name “Marina Baru 2B,” an oxygen tube and a deflated small rubber boat.
The objects are currently being held at the police office.
On Monday night, search and rescue teams had searched the reported area but found no bodies, which are believed to have been carried by currents.
Dappi said teams would again search for victims in the same location of Luwu waters, expressing hope of finding survivors.
A crewmember from the boat who is among the 40 people rescued, Ambo Masse, said the vessel sank Saturday afternoon due to natural disturbances including strong winds and large waves.
“When leaving [the departure port], the vessel was normal and had no leak,” Tribune Makassar quoted him as saying.
“We immediately evacuated all passengers when we though the boat would sink,” he said, adding that it took the KM Marina two hours to completely go under.
Frans Barung Mangera, South and West Sulawesi Regional Police spokesperson, said police would be investigating the cause of the accident.
“We will investigate whether the amount of passengers on board was in accordance with provisions or not. And if the ship had permission to sail,” he told the newspaper.
Indonesia’s waterways serve as a widespread form of transportation in some areas of the country, where accidents resulting from overcrowded boats and lax safety standards are common.