26 missing after boat capsizes off Sulawesi island, Indonesia mounts search and rescue operation

Survivors rescued by Indonesia's search and rescue agency on May 28, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

MAKASSAR, INDONESIA (REUTERS) - Indonesian rescue teams were looking for 26 people missing on Saturday (May 28) after a boat with 43 people on board capsized off Sulawesi island, the search and rescue agency said.

The motorboat had left Paotere port in Makassar, the capital of South Sulawesi province, on Thursday at midnight. It was reported missing the next day when it failed to arrive at its destination, local media reported.

Rescued passengers were picked up by tugboats and taken to Banjarmasin in South Kalimantan and Jeneponto in South Sulawesi, South Sulawesi search and rescue agency chief Djunaidi said on Saturday.

Authorities said they think the accident was caused by a fuel shortage and bad weather.

"We have confirmation that the boat had sunk in the search area," Mr Djunaidi said. "We received information saying that 17 people were found and saved by passing tugboats."

Indonesia's weather agency had warned on Thursday of waves up to 2.5m in Makassar strait areas that could cause safety risks.

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