Groom among missing in deadly Indonesian boat sinking

2014-10-09 11:40

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Sumenep - A groom on his way to the Indonesian island of Bali to get married is among those missing after a boat sank, leaving at least 19 dead and 22 unaccounted for, officials and friends said on Thursday.

His wife to be was not on the wooden motorboat, which went down on Monday after experiencing engine trouble, as she was in her home village on Bali waiting for her future husband and his family to arrive, the groom's neighbour told AFP.

"The wedding ceremony was supposed to start in the evening," said Ainur Rasyid, who lives near the groom on the small island of Pulau Raas, off the eastern tip of main Java island.

The parents of the groom, called Ahmad Yani, and other relatives were also on the boat heading to the wedding, he said.

Rescuers on Thursday found two bodies of adult women, taking the confirmed death toll to 19, including three children, said Asnawi, head of the search operation, who like many Indonesians goes by one name.

The boat was carrying 49 people. Eight were rescued alive Wednesday, two days after the boat sank, when they were spotted by fishermen floating in the water 3km from Pulau Raas.

Twenty-two people remain missing, Asnawi said. All the passengers were believed to be Indonesian.

The boat, which set off at 08:00 on Monday and was supposed to arrive in Bali late afternoon, began taking on water and sank after its engine failed, according to officials.

Indonesia relies heavily on boats to connect its more than 17 000 islands, but has a poor maritime safety record. Boats are often overcrowded and not equipped with enough life jackets and life boats.

In August, a tour boat carrying 25 people sank as it made its way from the island of Lombok near Bali to Komodo Island, a popular tourist destination.

Most of the passengers, who were mainly European tourists, survived. Some had to swim a great distance to a volcanic island and survived until being rescued by drinking their own urine and eating leaves. Two Spanish men were never found.

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