Transferring dead victims in the accident (Source: VNA)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency is scrambling to rescue 139 passengers from a ferry that sank off the coast of the island of Sulawesi, killing at least four on July 3.

According to officials, the ferry flooded with water and sank close to the shore. The number of rescued victims currently remains unknown.

The accident happened two weeks after a vessel sank on Indonesia’s Lake Toba that left around 170 dead.

The Associated Press reported on July 3 that Indonesia’s rescue force has ended its search for the missing people with a prayer ceremony, releasing flowers on Lake Toba, and a groundbreaking ceremony for a monument dedicated to the victims.

On June 18, the Indonesian Disaster Mitigation Agency said 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.

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