Last cruise of Sinar Bangun ship in Lake Toba

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Sinar Bangun passenger ship, which set sail from the Simanindo port in Samosir District and was steaming towards Tigaras Parapat in Simalungun District, North Sumatra Province, met with an accident on June 18, 2018.

The ship was crossing Lake Toba, one of the natural wonders of the world, when the incident turned into a nightmare for the crew members, as some 180 lives were in peril, and only a miracle could save them.

Little did the over hundred people, who boarded the ship, know that this would be their last ride.

After steaming for some 500 meters away from the port, the ship lurched and within seconds the situation changed. The passengers, who were in high spirits, instantly panicked and became frightened.

Some jumped into the lake, and all struggled to save themselves from the sinking ship.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 22 people were reportedly found to be safe, four people were found dead, and hundreds of others remained missing.

Thanks to the alertness of the rescue teams, the number of victims of the ill-fated ship is not expected to be too high.

Based on information received from families of the victims, 178 passengers were still missing, but the details of passengers aboard the ship were not available.

A joint rescue team has begun to search for the missing passengers some 100 meters from where the ship sank.

The joint rescuers, totaling 350 personnel, comprised military, police personnel, volunteers, National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas), Regional Disaster Management Office, and other agencies.

Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has stated that the search efforts will last for seven days, and if deemed necessary, it will be extended to 10 days.

According to the transportation minister, the government is committed to searching for the missing victims, reforming the prevailing regulations, and investigating the relevant parties in the event of a breach of the rules.

Until now, the government and related stakeholders, such as Basarnas, the National Transportation Safety Committee (KNKT), Police, TNI, and provincial and district governments, have segregated tasks by forming several teams to handle the incident.

The teams are divided into: missing persons registration team for passengers, search and rescue team, fact-finding team to uncover the cause of the accident, team handling the dead and survivors, victim-returning team, and media center team.

According to the minister, the government has formed several teams, including a search team under Basarnas and a search team under the KNKT.

The government has already found the coordinates of the location of MV Sinar Bangun, which sank in the waters of Lake Toba, North Sumatra Province, on Monday afternoon.

On the sidelines of the operation to search for victims in Lake Toba on Wednesday, Head of the North Sumatra Disaster Management Office Riyadil Akhir Lubis stated that the joint team has continued to track the location of passengers and the sunken ship.

Although the joint team has found the coordinates of the sunken ship, it has not yet discovered the shipwreck.

In the near future, the joint team will deploy a special team, including marine troops, which will dive into the waters at the identified coordinates.

The marine troops will track down KM Sinar Banguns position using special equipment to detect metal at the bed of the lake.

The search for the drowned passengers of the Sinar Bangun wooden vessel has continued in the waters of Lake Toba, Simalungun District, North Sumatra Province.

The search and rescue team is ready to conduct a search until it finds the victims and will continue the operation all day if it finds a clue, according to Head of Indonesias Basarnas M. Syaugi at the Port of Tiga Ras in Simalungun District.

Syaugi stated that after receiving information on the accident on June 18, 2018, at 5 p.m. local time, Basarnas had immediately deployed a search team in Parapat until midnight.

As a result, 18 survivors were evacuated at the time and treated at community health clinics and hospitals located in the districts of Samosir and Simalungun, while another victim named Tri Suci Wulandari died.

To further intensify the search, Basarnas has deployed an experienced team of divers from Jakarta and a sophisticated marine instrument and a water scooter that is capable of carrying six people.

Basarnas has received the coordinates of the location of drowning and mapped the natural conditions to find the extent and the location where the victims were displaced from the original position.

Basarnas expects the support, participation, and prayers of the community and stakeholders in the form of information to further facilitate and streamline the search for victims.

Following the incident, the ships operating in Lake Toba have not been allowed to sail until the safety aspect is met, except for Roro North Sumatra 1 and North Sumatra 2, which are used for rescue.

The Ministry of Transportation will also provide five thousand life jackets to motor boat operators.

In addition, the ministry will conduct safety audits of all ships operating in Lake Toba and will undertake the renovation of infrastructure at five piers around Lake Toba.

Source: ANTARA News