Several dead as wedding boat sinks near Bali

Nineteen dead and 22 missing after engine on vessel transporting wedding guests to Indonesian island breaks down.

    Several dead as wedding boat sinks near Bali
    Twenty-two people remain missing, all the passengers were believed to be Indonesian [Al Jazeera]

    Nineteen people have been confirmed dead after a boat carrying 49 people, including a groom and his wedding guests, sunk on its way to the Indonesian island of Bali earlier this week.

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

    Eight people were rescued on Wednesday when they were spotted by fishermen floating in the water 3km from Pulau Raas, off the eastern tip of main Java island.

    Asnawi said 22 people remain missing, all the passengers were believed to be Indonesian.

    The groom was on his way to get married on Monday evening, while his wife waited for him and the guests to arrive at her home village on Bali.

    "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.

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

    The boat was supposed to arrive on Monday afternoon, but began taking on water and sank after its engine failed according to officials.

    Poor safety record

    Indonesia relies heavily on boats for transportation to and from more than 17,000 islands, but has a poor maritime safety record.

    Boats are often overcrowded and not properly 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 stayed alive until being rescued by drinking their own urine and eating leaves. Two Spanish men were never found.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and agencies


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