94 Survived, 39 Still Missing

Saturday, June 24, 2006
By nias

[SIBOLGA] Thirty nine passengers of the sunk ferry Surya Makmur Indah are still missing. The other 94 passengers have been rescued. Seven were admitted to Sibolga public hospital due to weak conditions. The rescue opration is still ongoing. At least 5 ships have been assgined to search for the people still missing.

The sunk ferry captain, Yuspin Naibaho (40) said that the accident occurred due to bad weather that hit the ferry one hour after leaving Sibolga seaport.
“Our ship was hit by big waves and storm which resulted in engine failure. The big wave created leak in the engine’s room whilst the pump for sucking water out was inoperable. The communication was also difficult”, said Naibaho.

According to Naibaho he pleaded to the people on board to be calm and not panic. He also directed the ship back to the Sibolga seaport. However, the passengers were panicking and run here and there resulting in ship’s accelerated sinking.

“Before the sinking the life jackets were distributed to passangers. However not all the passangers got the life jackets, some simply jumped off the ship to “escape” the sinking” added Naibaho.

133 People on Board
Lieutenant Colonel Jaka Santoso, chief of the Sibolga naval base, said that the ship carried 120 passenger and 13 crews. The ship leaved Sibolga seaport for Gunungsitoli Wednesday night (21/6).

“On Friday (23/6) at about 6.00 WIB (Indonesian western standard time) another passenger was found and rescued” said Santosa to Pembaruan.
Five ships were assigned for search and rescue operation. A number of fishermen with their fishing boats are also helping operation.

On Thursday night, Sibolga naval base also assigned a Pertamina tanker to search the people still missing.

“Using normal ship for the operation might not be effective and even dangerous as wheather was bad that night (Thursday)” Jaka Santosa said. The search and rescue operation still goes on and no time limit has been set.

“All the evacuees admitted to hospital were in good healt conditions and did not stay there overnight” he said.

The Sibolga Seaport Administrator, Frit Agamsyah, said that six ambulances were assigned to bring the evacuees to the hospital.

Initially it was reported that two US citizens and one Australian were aboard the sunk ferry. However, it was reported later that the three boarded another ship. [AHS/T-4/SMH/E-4/Ant] (Source: Suara Pembaruan, Friday, 23 June 2006).

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Kalender Berita

June 2006