Indonesia: More Than 160 People Missing after Lake Toba Ferry Accident


Medan, North Sumatra, MINA — At least 166 people are believed missing after a ferry capsized in Indonesia’s Lake Toba earlier in the week, Deutsche Welle reported, citing officials on Wednesday.

Only 18 people have been rescued and one person has been found dead since the overcrowded boat sank in the lake on Monday.

The ferry was operating with no manifest and the passengers had not been given tickets. Officials have had to revise up the number of missing several times as families provided information.

The new number of missing means that the ferry was carrying three times its capacity when it capsized in bad weather and two- meter-high waves. It was reportedly operating illegally.

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Lake Toba, on the island of Sumatra, is the largest volcanic lake in the world and a major tourist hot spot.

The disaster struck as the Muslim-majority nation celebrated Eid al-Fitr marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan, with millions of people visiting family around the nation.

The popularity of Lake Toba is such that the Indonesian government has taken special care to try to introduce sustainable tourism measures out of fear that the high level of visitors may be destroying its natural majesty. It is currently on the list to receive UNESCO Geopark certification, which would give it a certain amount of protection through the United Nations.

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With 17,000 islands in the vast archipelago that makes up Indonesia and sometimes lax security checks, maritime accidents are a relatively common occurrence. (T/RS5/RS1)

Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)

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