Update December 20, 2015

Dhaka 9-27 am, 22-October, 2020

39 rescued, scores missing as waves sink Indonesian boat

Sumel Sarker

Two Indonesian members of a search and rescue team help a young survivor (R) in Siwa following a ferry accident in central Indonesia off the island of Sulawesi on December 20, 2015.  Two children have become the first victims found following a ferry accident in central Indonesia, an official said on December 20, as search and rescue teams continue scouring the rough seas for survivors.  A total of 23 people have so far been pulled from the water alive off Sulawesi island, where a passenger ferry carrying 118 people ran into trouble in a violent storm late on December 19, a transport ministry spokesman said.       AFP PHOTO / IRWAN KAHIR

39 rescued, scores missing as waves sink Indonesian boat

20 December 2015, Nirapad News: Rescuers have pulled out 39 survivors and three dead from a passenger boat that sank in central Indonesia after being buffeted by high waves, and were battling bad weather Sunday to reach scores of others still missing.

The fiberglass ferry was on its way from Kolaka in Southest Sulawesi province crossing the Gulf of Bone to Siwa town with 110 passengers and 12 crew, when it was overwhelmed by waves more than 3 meters (10 feet) high during stormy weather on Saturday afternoon, said Roki Asikin, head of the search and rescue agency in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi.

Six rescue boats and ships were sent from Kendari and Makassar after they received a distress call from the crew who reported that the vessel was starting to take on water about 21 kilometers (13 miles) southeast of Siwa port in Wajo district, Asikin said. The passengers included 14 children, he said.

Earlier Sunday, fishermen found four people, including a woman and a child wearing life jackets. They told authorities that their boat sank hours after being hit by high waves.

Transportation Ministry spokesman Julius Barata said 35 other survivors and three dead were discovered later.

He added that the four who were found earlier Sunday were taken to Port Hospital in Siwa, while the others were on their way to another hospital in Kolaka Utara district.

Television footage showed dozens of family members anxiously waiting for their loved ones at the Siwa port.

Indonesian boat accidents have killed hundreds of people in recent years. Boats are often overcrowded and safety regulations are poorly enforced. The vast country spans more than 17,000 islands with a population of 250 million, and boats are a popular and relatively cheap form of transportation.

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