MAKASSAR, Indonesia : Indonesian rescuers were seeking for 26 missing individuals on Saturday after a boat carrying 43 passengers sank off the coast of Sulawesi island.
The speedboat that departed Paotere port in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, at midnight Thursday went missing the next day after failing to arrive at its destination, according to local media.
Tugboats picked up rescued people and transported them to Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and Jeneponto in South Sulawesi, said South Sulawesi search and rescue agency commander Djunaidi on Saturday. Authorities believe the disaster was caused by a lack of gasoline and adverse weather.
“We have proof that the boat sank in the search area,” stated Djunaidi. “We received word that 17 individuals had been rescued and saved by passing tugboats.”
On Thursday, the meteorological service warned of waves up to 2.5 metres high in Makassar strait regions, which might endanger lives.
Djuanidi said a crew of 40 rescuers were hunting for survivors at sea.
Marine mishaps are widespread in Indonesia, an archipelago of about 17,000 islands with low safety regulations.
A boat carrying over 800 people struck aground in shallow seas off the coast of East Nusa Tenggara province last week and remained trapped for two days before being freed. No one was injured.
More than 150 people died in 2018 after a ferry capsized in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island.