An official said Monday that 31 people have been rescued and 11 are still missing after a ferry ran out of fuel and sunk in heavy weather off the coast of Indonesia.
After the KM Ladang Pertiwi sank while travelling through the Makassar strait in South Sulawesi province on Thursday, local tugboats and fishermen rescued several of the survivors ashore.
“Until now, 31 people have been retrieved alive, and we are still seeking for 11 more individuals who are still missing,” said Djunaidi, the leader of the local search and rescue team, who, like several Indonesians, goes by one name.
He continued, “They have since returned home and are in generally good health.”
In the hunt for the missing, rescuers have deployed a helicopter and expanded the search area to 20 nautical miles from where the boat sank, according to Djunaidi.
He went on to say that the ship didn’t have a permission to transport people, and that both the captain and the owner had been arrested and questioned.
Although no official passenger list was recorded, officials suspect there were 42 people onboard when the boat sunk, which is usual in a nation where personnel regularly sell unauthorized tickets over the ships’ nominal capacity.
Marine mishaps are widespread in Southeast Asia’s 17,000-island archipelago, where safety regulations are sometimes weak.
A boat carrying over 800 people struck aground in shallow seas off the coast of East Nusa Tenggara province in May and remained trapped for two days before being freed. There were no injuries.
On the Indonesian island of Sumatra, more than 150 people drowned in 2018 when a ferry collapsed in one of the world’s deepest lakes.