Andy Amaldan, AFP
The rescue brought to 23 the number of people saved since the vessel sank Saturday as it headed from Lombok island to Komodo island, famed as the home of the Komodo dragon, the world’s biggest lizard. Among them were 18 foreign tourists, from New Zealand, Britain, Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, France and Italy. Some of the group rescued Sunday had to swim hours to the closest island, Sangeang, even though there was a volcano erupting on it at the time. Two foreigners remain missing. Those rescued Monday were found in the early hours some 60 miles (100 kilometres) off the coast of Sumbawa island, which is close to Sangeang, a search official said. “They were all found together, some in a lifeboat and some floating with their life jackets on around 60 miles (100 kilometres) off Sape,” on the east of Sumbawa, said rescue official Budiawan, who like many Indonesians goes by one name. Budiawan, head of the search and rescue agency on Lombok island which lies to the west of Sumbawa, said they were now in the town of Sape. “The search operation is continuing this morning, and involves the military and police,” he said.
The foreigners rescued Monday were from the Netherlands, Italy and Germany, while the Indonesians were four boat crew members and a tour guide, said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. An AFP journalist in Sape saw some of those rescued being treated at a community health centre, with several put on drips. They appeared in shock and declined to speak with journalists.