JAKARTA, INDONESIA — Six people, including four Australian tourists, who were reported missing off the west coast of Indonesia’s Sumatra island after their boat hit bad weather have been found alive, an official said Tuesday.
Two boats carrying a total of 17 people left Nias island for the private island of Pinang on Sunday, but one of the boats, which carried four Australians and three Indonesians, failed to arrive, prompting authorities to launch a search-and-rescue operation Monday.
Rescuers found the four Australians and two Indonesians alive, and are still searching for the Indonesian who remains missing, said local rescue agency head Octavianto.
“At the moment, all victims have been evacuated to the Pinang resort to receive further medical attention,” Octavianto, who like many Indonesians uses only one name, said in a statement Tuesday.
“For the last victim, the search is ongoing by rescuers around waters near Tuangku Island and Palawak Island.”
Marine accidents occur frequently in the Southeast Asian archipelago nation of around 17,000 islands, where people rely on ferries and small boats to travel despite poor safety standards.
In 2018, more than 150 people drowned when a ferry sank in one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra.
Last year, a ferry carrying more than 800 people ran aground in shallow waters off East Nusa Tenggara province and remained stuck for two days before being dislodged. No one was hurt.