Two people missing after a tourist boat sinks in Komodo National Park

The boat was headed towards Padar, a hilly island famed for its views, when it ran into trouble. Photo: Coconuts Bali

After hitting rough seas between the islands of Rinca and Padar on Sunday afternoon, a wooden charter boat carrying seven tourists and four crew lost control and sank. Search and rescue teams safely evacuated nine people, but two—named by Kompas as Dr. Dedy Prayudi and Gregorious (the tour guide)—are still missing at sea.

The live-aboard ship, called La Hila, had been chartered by a group of domestic tourists, and is reported to have set off from the port of Labuan Bajo in Flores on Saturday at around 8am. Problems arose on the second day of the tour when the boat sailed further west towards Padar, a mountainous island famous for its panoramic views.

After encountering particularly strong winds and big waves, the crew called for help. A combined search and rescue team, made up of personnel from West Manggarai Police and the Indonesian navy and military, managed to save nine people, who were immediately taken to Siloam Hospital in Labuan Bajo for treatment, according to reporting by the Tribun group. Despite several days of searching, two of the passengers, both Indonesian nationals, are yet to be recovered.

West Manggarai Police Chief AKBP Julisa Kumowardono said that the team will continue to investigate the cause of the accident, though it is suspected that rough conditions, rather than human error, were to blame.

“We are working to uncover the cause of the incident; whether it was due to weather conditions or human error. But we suspect that it was triggered by bad weather,” said Kumowardano to Kompas.

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