At least 12 people died and frantic rescue operation was underway today, July 3, off the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia for dozens of passengers of a sinking ferry run aground by the captain in a desperate bid to save lives.
The latest boat tragedy in Indonesia comes on the same day officials called off a search for 164 people presumed drowned when an Indonesian wooden ferry sank 2 weeks ago in a deep volcanic crater lake on Sumatra Island.
Dicky Sondani, South Sulawesi province police spokesman, said that Lestari Maju ferry was around 200 meters from shore. It carried 139 passengers on board, as well as motorcycles, cars and trucks.
The agency revealed 12 people were dead, of which 2 kids aged 2 and 3.
The captain steered the 48.5-meter (159-foot) vessel to shore after it started sinking on a trip from port Bira to Selayar island, situated south of the main Sulawesi island.
According to Director-General of Sea Transportation, the actions of the captain were helping the rescue effort.
Basli Ali, Selayar district chief, said more than 30 had been rescued and 8 of them had been treated in hospital. However, many are still missing.