A ferry capsized off the coast of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on Monday, July 24, 2023, leaving 15 people dead and 19 missing, search and rescue officials said.
The local office of Indonesia’s search and rescue agency said in a statement that the boat sank just after midnight local time (1700 GMT Sunday) with 40 people on board.
Six people were rescued and taken to hospital for treatment, it said, adding that the cause of the sinking was being investigated.
“For the time being, the search for 19 people is still ongoing,” Mohammad Arafa, head of the local search and rescue agency in the city of Kendari in southeast Sulawesi, said in a statement.
“The search will be divided into two teams. The first team will dive around the accident site. The second team will conduct a surface sweep around the accident site using a rubber boat and a long boat.”
It is common in Indonesia for the actual number of passengers on a boat to differ from the manifest.
Frequent marine disasters
Maritime accidents are frequent in the Southeast Asian archipelago of about 17,000 islands, where people rely on ferries and small boats to get around despite poor safety standards.
In 2018, more than 150 people drowned after a ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on the island of Sumatra.
In May last year, a ferry carrying more than 800 people capsized in shallow waters off East Nusa Tenggara province and was stranded for two days. No one is hurt. In that accident.