HONG KONG — Rescuers in Indonesia were searching on Tuesday for dozens of people who were reported missing after a ferry sank in a lake during a major holiday, officials and the local news media said.
At least one person died when the ferry sank at 5:30 p.m. on Monday in Lake Toba, a popular sightseeing spot on Sumatra Island, the Jakarta Globe newspaper reported.
Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, and the accident occurred during Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday that marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Millions of Indonesians have been traveling home to celebrate the holiday, known there as Idul Fitri.
The Globe said the ferry was carrying 80 passengers, but an official with Indonesia’s National Disaster Management Agency said on Twitter that there may have been anywhere from 70 to 130 people on board.
The disaster agency retweeted a Twitter post by the official, Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, that included video of the rescue effort.
KMP Sumut 1, KMP Sumut 2 dan Kapal Sinta Damai menyelamatkan korban tenggelam di perairan Danau Toba. Gelombang tinggi dan cuaca menjadi kendala. Jumlah penumpang KMP Sinar Bangun diperkirakan 70-130 orang. Belum ada data jumlah penumpang pasti hingga 18/6/2018 malam. pic.twitter.com/OP0O737P19
— Sutopo Purwo Nugroho (@Sutopo_PN) June 18, 2018
He was quoted by The Globe as saying that the cause of the accident was unknown, and that search-and-rescue operations were being hampered by high waves.
Calls to the disaster agency failed to go through on Tuesday. An automated message said one of the lines had been temporarily disconnected.
Reuters reported that at least 100 rescue personnel were involved in the search. The news agency quoted Sri Hardianto, an official at Indonesia’s transportation ministry, as saying that the wooden ferry had a capacity of 60 passengers but may have been carrying 80 people and dozens of motorcycles.