JAKARTADAILY.ID – At least 11 people have died and nine others are still missing after a speedboat carrying 78 passengers sank in western Indonesia.
The boat, Evelyn Calista 01, was carrying mostly women and children who were returning from a visit to their hometowns to celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday with families.
The incident occurred on Thursday afternoon about three hours after leaving a port in Tembilahan, a town in the Indragiri Hilir Regency in Riau province, and it was bound for Tanjung Pinang city in a neighboring province in the Riau Islands chain, a 200-kilometer trip.
"Two tugboats and two inflatable boats have been searching for the missing people since Thursday night, battling high waves in the overnight darkness," said Norhayat, a local police chief.
"The cause of the sinking is still being investigated, but some survivors told authorities the boat swayed suddenly and capsized after hitting a large log while sailing in strong winds," he added.
Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of over 17,000 islands, where ferries are often used as transportation, and safety regulations can lapse.
In 2018, an overcrowded ferry sank in a deep volcanic crater lake in North Sumatra province, killing 167 people.