Search and rescue on Lake Toba (Source: VNA)
 
Jakarta (VNA) - At least 12 people, including two children, died after a ferry carrying over 139 passengers sank in waters off Indonesia's Sulawesi island on July 3, officials said.

Search and rescue operations are still underway, but bad weather hampered rescuers from approaching the scene. As many as 125 passengers were rescued.

Ferry KMP Lestari Maju, heading to Selayar island, sank at 14:30 (local time) in the waters of Selayar.

The vessel was also loaded with 48 cars and motorcycles in addition to the passengers.

This is the third vessel sinking in Indonesia over the past 15 days. On June 18, a vessel carrying nearly 200 passengers capsized and sank on Lake Toba, a well-known tourist destination in the country.

The latest reports showed that 21 people were rescued and three bodies were found. Another 164 are missing and believed to have drowned. Approximately 400 search and rescue staff, including police and army forces, have joined the search.

On June 22, a wooden ship carrying five passengers also capsized on Lake Toba, killing one.

Toba is one of the world’s deepest volcanic lakes and the widest in Indonesia, with an area of 1,145 sq.km. As a popular tourist destination, it lies in the north of Sumatra island, about a three-hour drive from Medan city.

Ferry tragedies are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, due to weak enforcement of safety regulations.-VNA