At least seven dead after selfie attempt makes tourist boat capsize in Indonesia

  • Only eleven of the overloaded boat’s 20 passengers were rescued after it capsized in a reservoir on Java island, police said
  • Meanwhile, the crew of an Indonesian fishing trawler left ‘clinging to their vessel’ in bad weather have been rescued off Australia’s west coast

Seven Indonesians drowned after an overloaded boat capsized because of tourists attempting a selfie in a reservoir on Java island, police said on Sunday.

The accident happened when all 20 passengers suddenly moved to the one side of the vessel to take a group photo on Saturday in the Boyolali regency, said Central Java police chief Ahmad Lutfi.

“The cause of the accident was overcapacity,” Lutfi told reporters. “The 20 people took a selfie on the right side then the boat lost balance and flipped.”

Rescuers search for victims after a boat carrying 20 holiday-makers capsized on at a reservoir in Boyolali, Central Java. Photo: Handout/National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas)/AFP

Police added that 11 people were rescued but seven were found dead. Rescuers were searching for two people still missing.

Authorities said they will look into whether there was negligence by those managing the boat rides at the reservoir. Lutfi said that the boat was helmed by a 13-year-old.

Rescuers search for victims after a boat carrying 20 holiday-makers capsized in a reservoir in Boyolali, Central Java. Photo: Handout/National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas)/AFP
Rescuers search for victims after a boat carrying 20 holiday-makers capsized in a reservoir in Boyolali, Central Java. Photo: Handout/National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas)/AFP

Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, a Southeast Asian archipelago of around 17,000 islands, because of lax safety standards.

In April, rescuers were rushed to find 17 fishermen after two boats collided in West Java. Three were found dead and 13 were still missing when the search ended.

And in January last year, 10 people went missing after a boat carrying 20 migrant workers to neighbouring Malaysia capsized off the coast of Sumatra island.

Meanwhile, the crew of an Indonesian fishing trawler left “clinging to their vessel” in bad weather have been rescued off Australia’s west coast, a top Canberra official said on Sunday.

The boat had started sinking in the Indian Ocean on Thursday with 20 crew members on board, Australian Defence Minister Peter Dutton said in a statement.

Australian air force planes dropped life rafts for the crew, stranded 670 nautical miles west of Perth, before a Japanese fishing vessel picked them up on Saturday.

Dutton said the crew had been “clinging to their vessel”, and the rescue efforts took place “in bad weather and high sea state”.

The survivors were transferred to the Australian navy ship HMAS Anzac on Saturday afternoon.

“The fishermen are receiving medical support,” Dutton added. “One requires urgent care and will be transferred by Anzac’s embarked MH-60R helicopter to a Perth hospital when in range of the coast tonight.”

The ship will then take the remaining fishermen to their home port in Bali, where they are expected to arrive late next week.

Agence France-Presse / SCMP

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