182 people missing in ship accident

Posted: 12/18/2011 in all marine news

Mustaqim Adamrah –

At least 182 people went missing after a wooden ship sank in Prigi waters in Trenggalek regency, East Java, on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said on Sunday that a team had rescued 33 people, three of whom were being treated at a nearby hospital and public healthcare center (puskesmas).

“We are temporarily sheltering the survivors in the fishing port building at Prigi Port,” he said.

He said the search and rescue team was still looking for other victims, together with the Indonesian Military, the National Police and the Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, but hurdles were being faced because the boat sank 40.2 kilometers from shore.

A member of the rescue team, Brian Gautama, said the team had been searching for victims, dead or alive, since Saturday afternoon.

“Visibility is quite low because of the extreme weather,” he told Antara.

Lt. Alwi Mudzakir, a maritime police officer heading the rescue operation, said he feared that a large number of victims would not be rescued due to the weather and 4-meter-high waves, the Associated Press reported.

Police blamed Saturday’s accident on overloading, saying that the vessel appeared to have been carrying more than twice its capacity.

Mudzakir said some of those who were rescued told authorities that they had intended to seek asylum in Australia.

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