Ten people died and five are missing after wooden passenger boat capsized off Biting Village on Bintan Island in Indonesia. The boat with 17 tourists was traveling to Bintan Island, but bad weather and high waves capsized her on 4 nautical miles off Biting Village. The local authorities and nearby vessel started immediately search and rescue operations, but succeeded to rescue only two passengers. Later were found bodies of ten people, who drowned in the heavy seas and another 5 people are missing. Into the SAR are engaged 200 people, 20 ships and 50 fishing boats, but bad weather and strong seas hamper the operation and reduce visibility.
“The ship sank due to strong winds and huge waves in the waters off Biting Village in district Kota Tanjung Pinang, Tanjung Pinang, Riau Islands Province. It was carrying tourists, who wanted to visit Biting”, said the spokesman National Board for Disaster Management, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. “When the boat capsized and sank, the passengers tried to swim to the pontons in the vicinity. Some of the passengers could not swim and drowned, while others were taken by the current and waves”, added he.
According to the witness evidences the waves in the area reached 10 feet in height. Some of the drowned people were found far away from the scene of the accident, probably taken by the strong currents.
The investigation for the root cause of the accident is under way. The SAR continue, but the chance to find the missing people reduces, due to the strong winds and big waves