Indonesian rescuers were looking for 25 individuals who had been missing after a boat reportedly sunk in the Makassar Strait in South Sulawesi province. About 42 individuals were on the boat as it sank due to bad weather on Thursday morning as it was sailing to Kalmas Island in Pangkep Regency from a seaport in Makassar.
The information was shared by Djunaidi, the provincial search and rescue agency head. About 17 were rescued later; some were rescued by the two tugboats that had been at sea during the incident.
Djunaidi has reported that the search and rescue agency got some new information about the sunken boat’s location on Saturday and dispatched crew members to the area.
A search and rescue boat, two motorboats, besides fishing boats, and Indonesian air force helicopters, have been involved in the search mission aimed at locating the missing passengers.
The sunken vessel was initially thought to be a passenger ferry. However, Djunaidi clarified later on that it was a cargo boat loaded with construction materials. About 36 passengers had requested a boat ride and there were only six crew members.
Ferry accidents are not uncommon in Indonesia, which is an archipelago of over 17,000 islands. Here, ferries are used as a popular means of transport. Safety regulations, at times, can also lapse.
In 2018, one overcrowded ferry with nearly 200 onboard had sunk in a volcanic crater lake in the North Sumatra province, taking the lives of 167 people.
In one of the country’s worst disasters, an overcrowded passenger vessel had sunk with 332 aboard in February 1999. Only 20 people had managed to survive.