Indonesian police arrest boat captain over deadly capsize

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Jakarta, June 21 (IANS) Indonesian police on Thursday detained the captain of a boat that sank in Lake Toba in Sumatra earlier this week, leaving three people dead and over 190 missing.

The vessel, Kapal Motor Sinar Bangun, went down on Monday in what is feared to be one of Indonesia’s most deadly maritime disasters.

According to a BBC report, the ferry was only licensed to transport 60 passengers and was operating without an official ticket system, making it difficult to trace those on board. Police said they have not questioned the captain as he was traumatized.

As many as 193 people, including children, are feared to be unaccounted for, police said. Authorities said they relied on reports from survivors and the families of missing relatives.

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Indonesia’s national search and rescue agency earlier said that only 18 survivors had been found, all within hours of the tragedy and that three bodies had been recovered.

Inspector General Setyo Wasisto said the captain would be questioned over the number of passengers as it was not clear yet with regard to the precise number of people in the boat.

The boat capsized after departing Simanindo port in Samosir district and was 1.61 km away from its destination of Tigaras Parapat of Simalungun district.

On Wednesday, divers and an underwater drone joined the search efforts. The teams still need to locate the wooden ferry at the bottom of the 1,500 feet-deep lake, the world’s largest volcanic lake.

–IANS

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