SAR team concludes search operation to find boat accident victims in Batam

Batam, Riau Islands (ANTARA News) - The joint Search and Rescue Team on Wednesday called off its search operation to look for victims of the boat accident in Batam waters even though a few passengers were yet to be accounted for.

The boat was carrying illegal Indonesian migrant workers.

The head of the Search and Rescue Team (Basarnas) of the Riau Islands, Abdul Hamid, said here on Wednesday that although the search operation has been concluded, the authority will have some elements of the SAR team on standby. They will continue to patrol using a boat near the last coordinates where the ship reportedly sank.

"We will also have coordination with the marine security officers. Any fishermen can inform the local Basarnas or authority if they find any of the missing victims," Hamid added.

Rescuers had until Tuesday recovered 95 of the 101 passengers on board the boat transporting illegal Indonesian migrant workers.

At least 40 of the 54 dead passengers have been identified at the Bhayangkara Hospital of Riau Islands Police Office.

The 41 passengers who survived the accident included 39 illegal Indonesian migrant workers. The rest two were crew members of the ship.

One crew member has been arrested at the Riau Islands Police Office, while the other one is still on the run.

The boat transporting these illegal Indonesian migrant workers capsized and sank after it was hit by a big wave on the Batam waters at dawn of Wednesday.

The chief of Riau Islands Police, Brigadier General Sam Budigusdian, pointed out that according to the survivors, there were 101 people on board the ill-fated boat.

However, there was no official record about the number of passengers in the boat, he added.

The Riau Island Police and the National Police are still identifying the rest of the bodies.

Meanwhile, most of the survivors have returned to their home in various regions of Indonesia.(*)

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