Three Killed as Ferry Sinks Off Southeast Sulawesi

Kendari, Southeast Sulawesi. A ferry sank in the waters off the coast of Southeast Sulawesi early on Tuesday morning, killing three passengers, the state-owned Antara news agency reported.

Buton Police Chief Adj. Sr. Comr. Fachrurozzi told the state wire that the KM Uki Raya 01 departed from Baubau, a city on Buton island, to Wangi Wangi island in Wakatobi District.

The ship encountered bad weather after three hours at sea, he said.

“The ship was hit by a big wave,” Fachrurrozi said. “Water got into the ship and it sank.”

A first responder said that the ferry was loaded to almost double its capacity.

“The incident happened at 2 a.m.,” said Jafar Henaulu, the head of the Kendari search-and-rescue team. “The [passenger manifest] listed 92 adults, nine children, and 11 crew. However, we’ve evacuated 197 people.”

Indonesian newspaper Kompas reported on Wednesday afternoon that the sinking had claimed three lives. Wahyuni, 30, and Halifa, 3, died at the scene, while Nur Hijatul Aisya, 40, was pronounced dead later on Tuesday from respiratory failure.

“The victim passed away at around 5 p.m. on Tuesday on the way to the hospital,” Buton Health Agency chief Sumardin said on Wednesday.

Several ferries have sunk across the archipelago during the Idul Fitri holiday season as the peak travel period causes opportunistic ferry owners to load more passengers onto vessels to meet the high demand for travel.

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