Published on : Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Two foreign passengers who were on board the boat are still missing.
“They were all found together, some in a lifeboat and some floating with their life jackets on around 60 miles (100 kilometres) off Sape,” on the east of Sumbawa island, said search and rescue official Budiawan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.
Twenty foreign tourists, an Indonesian guide and four crew were on board when the boat capsized in the early hours of Saturday en route to Komodo island, the home of the Komodo dragon, the world’s biggest lizard and a draw card for tourists.
Ten of the tourists, from New Zealand, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany and France, were pulled from the water by local fishermen and rescue crews later that evening.
The Indonesian military has joined the search to find the two remaining tourists, a Dutch man and an Italian woman.
Speedboats and a helicopter have been deployed, but authorities say rescue efforts are hampered by bad weather and high waves.
Officials said the incident took place when the boat, sailing from Lombok island to Komodo island, hit a wave that was 3m high and crashed into a reef. It sprung a leak and sank.
Lombok, which is next to the resort island of Bali, attracts thousands of tourists each year. Komodo island and the surrounding national park are popular among divers and snorkelers because of the abundance of coral reefs which are home to tropical fish, turtles and manta rays.
A tourism operator in the area says it is approaching the end of high season, which runs from March until September.
Indonesia relies heavily on boats to connect its more than 17,000 islands, but has a poor maritime safety record.
Two vessels sank last month in different parts of the archipelago as millions travelled for the Muslim Eid holiday, leaving at least 36 people dead.