15 People Missing As Tourist Boat Sinks In Indonesia

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Fifteen people, including 10 foreign tourists, are missing after a boat travelling from Lombok to Komodo Island in Indonesia sank in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Ten others from Europe and New Zealand survived and were plucked from the water by two boats, including a fishing boat.

The boat, a type of wooden Phinisi schooner, called Versace Amara, is understood to have hit a reef although rescue officials late on Sunday gave differing versions of what exactly had happened to the vessel.

And they could not confirm the nationalities of the 10 tourists who are still missing. It is believed that the four crew and the guide are Indonesian.

Suryaman, the Search and rescue co-ordinator at Bima, on Sumbawa island, said the boat appeared to have hit a reef about 1.15am (local time) on Saturday morning, causing a serious leak.

Suryaman said that the crew tried to bring the boat to land but bad weather prevented them, and at about 7pm on Saturday the boat, which had been filing with water, capsized.

At about 8pm, local fishermen found five people in the water and saved them. Another five were saved by a different boat and all are now in hospital in Bima, on Sumbawa Island.

A further 15 from the boat are still missing, including 10 tourists, four crew and one tourist guide.

“A tourist boat with 25 people on board capsized while sailing from Lombok island to Komodo island,” said Budiawan, who, like many Indonesians, goes by one name.

“We rescued 10 foreigners, while 10 other foreigners and five Indonesians remain missing. We launched a search operation as soon as we received the report this morning (Sunday).”

“The incident took place … when the boat hit a reef and sank. Fishermen managed to rescue five of them alive later at night on Saturday, and five other foreigners were rescued by a sailing boat,” Budiawan told AFP.

The survivors include a 29-year-old and 53-year-old Dutch woman, two 21-year-old German women, a 33-year-old French man, a male and female from Spain, A British woman, a male and female from New Zealand.

They were named as Els Visser, 29, from the Netherlands, Hannah Schole, 21, from Germany, Norensch Wickhow, 21 from Germany, Cayleng Cheryl, 53 from the Netherlands, Hommasel Betrand, 33 from France, Rafael Martinez from Spain, Maria Pallol, from Spain, a British woman known only as Katherine Anne, Tony Francis Lawton and Gaylene Cheryl Wilkinson from New Zealand.

The names were provided by authorities on the scene late on Sunday night.

The Bima police chief, Lieutenant Colonel Benny Basir Warmansyah said the accident happened in the waters of Sangeang, near Seangeang Mountain.

He said the boat was on the way from Senggigi on Lombok to Labuhan Bajo when it was hit by a wave.

Lt Col Warmansyah said the nationalities of those foreigners still missing was not clear.

Phinisi schooners regularly ply the eastern Indonesian waters, taking tourists diving and between the islands which form the Nusa Tenggara region.

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