At least eight people including a toddler were killed after a speedboat capsized off the coast of Borneo on Tuesday. The rescue officials said that many people are feared to be trapped inside the boat that was carrying 51 people.
According to the witnesses, the passengers were jumping into the water without life vests as the boat capsized outside a busy Indonesian port to save their life.The accident occurred as the boat left Tarakan in North Borneo province on Tuesday morning to Tanjung Selor.
"The boat had only been sailing for about 10 minutes when it was hit by a wave. It started to tilt and capsized, when it was still very close to the port" Octavianto, spokesman of the local search and rescue agency, who like many Indonesians go by one name, told AFP.
He added that eight people including a two-year-old child have been found dead, while, 22 other people, including a German man and woman, were rescued alive and taken to hospital for treatment.
Octavianto said navy personnel have been dispatched to search for the remaining passengers. However, passenger manifests in the region often do not record all of those on board. "Witnesses said the sea was quiet when the boat capsized so I don't think the accident was due to rough seas," he said. "However the port was very busy and the boat traffic was quite high at that time, which may have triggered the waves."
This comes as the latest fatal boat accident in the vast Indonesian archipelago. It consists of more than 17,000 islands and the people are entirely dependent on boat transport. However, deadly boat accidents are quite common in this region.
At least 23 people died when a tourist boat from Jakarta carrying about 250 local holidaymakers to celebrate the New Year on nearby Tidung island burst into flames.
In December 2015, a ferry was capsized by huge waves in the Sulawesi province killing more than 60 people.