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Indonesian ferry tragedy: 15 dead, 19 missing in Sulawesi capsizing

An overloaded ferry capsizes off Sulawesi island, claiming lives and leaving people missing

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BS Web Team New Delhi

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A tragic incident occurred off Indonesia's Sulawesi island, where an overloaded ferry capsized, resulting in at least 15 fatalities and 19 people reported missing, according to rescuers on Monday.

The ill-fated boat was on its way from Lanto village in Buton Central regency, Southeast Sulawesi province, to nearby Lagii village when it overturned shortly after midnight on Monday. The head of Buton's search and rescue agency, Muhammad Arafah, revealed that the wooden boat was carrying 40 passengers, despite being designed to accommodate only 20.

Rescuers initiated a search for the 19 missing individuals in challenging sea conditions and they successfully recovered 15 bodies, and six people were saved. To aid in the search operation, three rubber boats, two fishing boats, and six divers were deployed.

The incident occurred during a time when thousands of residents were returning to their villages to celebrate the regency's 9th anniversary on Sunday, and many relied on fishing or passenger boats for transportation.

Indonesia, being an archipelago with over 17,000 islands, heavily relies on ferries for transportation. However, lax safety standards and issues with overcrowding have led to frequent accidents, raising concerns about ferry travel safety in the region.

Rescue operations are currently underway and further details are awaited.

 

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First Published: Jul 24 2023 | 2:30 PM IST

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