Toba ferry rescue mission gets another extension
The Jakarta Post
The National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas) has extended its mission to search for victims of KM Sinar Bangun, a ferry that sank last week in Lake Toba, North Sumatra.
“The rescue operation has been extended for the families of the victims,” search and rescue team head Budiawan told The Jakarta Post on Thursday, saying that the mission would continue until June 30.
It was estimated that nearly 200 passengers went missing when the overcrowded boat sank on June 18. Authorities have given conflicting passenger numbers as the vessel was operating illegally with no manifest or passenger tickets.
Budiawan said the extension was the mission's second.
The team has until now rescued 21 people and recovered three dead bodies.
Budiawan said the team had tried various methods to recover victims trapped inside the sunken ferry, such as by using a trawling net pulled by two ships. However the efforts have yielded no results.
“So far we’ve only recovered a few objects, such as ID cards, sandals and helmets,” Budiawan said.
Authorities say bad weather, coupled with overcrowding, caused the ferry to sink on its way from Simanindo Port in Samosir regency to Tigaras Port in Simalungun regency. (gis/ipa)
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