JAKARTA Aug 18 Bad weather was hampering a
desperate search on Monday for two foreign tourists still
missing after a boat travelling between two Indonesian islands
sank at the weekend, although 13 more people had been plucked
from the water alive, officials said.
A small cruise ship carrying 20 foreign tourists and five
Indonesian crew sank on Saturday night as it sailed between
Lombok and Komodo islands. Indonesian authorities had said as
many as 15 of the tourists were missing overnight.
However, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national
disaster management agency, said 13 more people, including eight
tourists and all five Indonesian crew, had been rescued in the
hours since then.
"The survivors were found by fishermen, and they were found
floating with life-jackets," Nugroho said in a text message.
He said the survivors were being treated at a clinic on West
Nusa Tenggara island, which lies between Lombok and Komodo.
Conditions had turned against rescuers searching for the
remaining two tourists.
"We have deployed speed boats and a helicopter ... but we
are encountering bad weather and high waves," Nugroho said.
The tourists rescued so far are from Britain, Italy,
Germany, the Netherlands, and New Zealand.
Tajudin Sam, who runs the tour company that operated the
ship, said it likely ran into stormy weather.
The ship was on a three-day trip from Lombok, a popular
destination for tourists, to Komodo Island, which is famous for
its giant monitor lizards.
Indonesia has a checkered maritime safety record among the
thousands of ferries that criss-cross the vast archipelago. Two
ships sank last month during the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holidays,
killing 36 people.
(Reporting by Kanupriya Kapoor and Chris Nusatya; Editing by
Randy Fabi and Paul Tait)