JAKARTA - A passenger motorboat with 43 people on board sunk in central Indonesia and rescuers were searching for 26 of them still missing, the local rescuer office said Saturday.
Seventeen people had been rescued after the motorboat on the way from Makassar's Paotere Harbor to Kalmas Island, about 45 kilometers away, sank around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday in Straits Makassar, according to the regional office of the Search and Rescue Agency.
The boat, Ladang Pertiwi, is believed to have run out of fuel and been trapped in bad weather, the agency in the South Sulawesi provincial capital of Makassar added.
Djunaidi, the head of the Makassar search and rescue office, said it only received the report about the sinking boat on Saturday morning after the 17 passengers were rescued by other boats a day earlier.
He also said that although an official record shows the boat was carrying 43 passengers, there might have been around 60 passengers on board based on another information his office had received.
Sea accidents frequently occur in archipelagic Indonesia, mostly because of overcapacity or bad maintenance of boats.