A boat carrying foreign tourists sank in central Indonesia, leaving 15 people missing, officials said Sunday.
The boat was on its way from Lombok island to Komodo island carrying 20 foreign tourists, four Indonesian crewmen and an Indonesian guide when it sank at about 6 p.m. Saturday, said Budiawan, head of the search and rescue agency in Mataram, the provincial capital of West Nusatenggara.
Ten people, including at least six of the foreigners, were rescued, said Budiawan, who like many Indonesians uses a single name. Among those rescued were two people each from New Zealand and Spain, and one each from Britain and France. It was not immediately clear who the other four rescued people were.
However, Tempo.co, a news website for Indonesia’s leading magazine, Tempo, reported that all 10 of those who were rescued were foreigners, including three New Zealanders, two people each from Germany, the Netherlands and Spain, and a French national.
Budiawan said a search for the missing was underway, involving at least four ships.
The wooden boat sank off Sangeang Api, a volcanic island in Bima district off the eastern coast of Sumbawa island.
The cause of the sinking was not immediately clear, but the weather conditions were poor at the time, according to Budiawan. Tempo.co quoted Abdul Wahab, coordinator for the search and rescue agency in Bima, as saying the boat was believed to be leaking when it sank.
Sutriyanto, another search official in Bima, said the number of people aboard the boat might have been higher than 25, given the absence of a manifest, according to Tempo.co.
Komodo is part of the Lesser Sunda chain of islands and forms part of Komodo National Park, which is known for its endangered Komodo dragons that can grow longer than 3 meters (10 feet).
Two foreign tourists are still missing after a boat sank off the coast of eastern Indonesia on Saturday.
Twenty foreign tourists, an Indonesian guide and four crew were on board when the boat foundered near Sangeang Api, a volcanic island off Sumbawa.
Ten people were rescued initially, and another 13, including all the crew, were found alive on Sunday.
They are being treated in hospital, but are not in serious condition, as a search continues for the remaining two.
“The incident took place… when the boat hit a reef and sank,” the Agence France-Presse news agency was told by an official, Suryaman, who goes by one name.
“Fishermen managed to rescue five of them alive later at night on Saturday, and five other foreigners were rescued by a sailing boat.”
Some of those on board managed to swim to a nearby island, one survivor told AFP.
“We were 5km (three miles) from the coast, there were many big waves separating us from the coast,” said Frenchman Bertrand Homassel.
“People started to panic. Everyone took the decision to swim to the closest island, 5km away, where there was an erupting volcano.”
After spending the night on the island, the group were rescued by a passing boat on Sunday.
The other tourists came from the UK, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and New Zealand.
The UK Foreign Office says two British nationals were hospitalised following the incident.
Accidents at sea have frequently occurred when migrant boats navigate through the archipelago, but accidents involving tourist boats are rare.