Search continues for eight missing after boat capsizes off Makassar in eastern Indonesia

Police carry the body of a victim who drowned after a longboat sank off of Makassar, at a hospital in Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia, on June 13, 2018.
Police carry the body of a victim who drowned after a longboat sank off of Makassar, at a hospital in Makassar, Sulawesi, Indonesia, on June 13, 2018.PHOTO: REUTERS
South Sulawesi Regional Disaster Management Agency
South Sulawesi Regional Disaster Management Agency
South Sulawesi Regional Disaster Management Agency

JAKARTA - Rescuers from Indonesia's national search and rescue agency Basarnas are racing against the clock in a search in choppy seas for eight passengers still missing after their boat capsized earlier on Wednesday (June 13).

At least 13 people died after the vessel, which was allegedly overloaded with 45 passengers onboard, capsized and sank off the coast of Makassar city in South Sulawesi, said the agency. Passengers were on their way home for the Eid al-Fitr holidays.

A total of 24 people have been rescued so far and admitted to a local hospital, but eight are still missing, said the South Sulawesi Regional Disaster Management Agency.

Among the dead is a one-year-old infant, as well as two children aged six and eight.

The traditional wooden boat, locally known as a jolloro, left Paotere Port in Makassar, South Sulawesi's provincial capital, in the afternoon and was headed to the resort island of Barrang Lompo, 15km northwest of the city.

"The boat reportedly hit a large wave amid bad weather and capsized," Mr Amiruddin from the national search and rescue agency in Makassar told Agence France Presse.

The passengers were thought to be Barrang Lompo natives working in Makassar.

Makassar police chief Aris Bachtiar said the boat was overloaded and said the police is still investigating the incident, according to AFP. The captain had been detained, he said.

In another incident, a speedboat carrying 30 sank off South Sumatra, killing at least two, said the wires.

Nearly 32 million Indonesians are making homeward journeys this week in the annual Hari Raya exodus, according to official figures.

The accidents were the latest tragedies at sea to occur in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, where ferries are popular transport mode.

Early this year, nine people died after a passenger boat capsized during a trip from Tarakan city in North Kalimantan to nearby Tanjung Selor district.