Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - Five Japanese tourists survived a boat sinking accident in the waters of Flores Island, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday evening, after the Labuan Bajo Search and Rescue (SAR) Agency's personnel successfully located them.

The rescue team also evacuated three crew members of Motor Vessel (MV) "Rambo Star" that had capsized in the waters of the southern part of Padar Island, the SAR Agency's coordinator, Edi Suryono, informed ANTARA here on Tuesday.

The Japanese survivors were identified as Kana, Koji Kato, Vacerie, Yoiin, and Andrew. Several of them had sustained minor injuries after colliding with a coral reef in a bid to rescue themselves from the ill-fated boat.

MV Rambo Star, carrying onboard five Japanese tourists and three crew members, capsized after being hit by high waves on its voyage to Komodo Island, he revealed.

Despite no fatalities reported in this sea accident, Suryono has emphasized that all tourist boat operators should not risk transporting visitors during inhospitable weather conditions.

Indonesia's rescue workers have always upheld high levels of professionalism. In October 2018, they had also succeeded in rescuing Jelle Veyt, a Belgian tourist, who was kayaking alone in the waters of Southeast Maluku District.

"The 32-year-old Belgian citizen was evacuated by rescuers getting aboard the Bharata 212 Search and Rescue vessel to Tual Town in Southeast Maluku District," Head of the Tual SAR Agency Muslimin stated.

The search and rescue operation was conducted shortly after the local SAR authorities received a report on Jelle Veyt's whereabouts from Lussy, a worker at Tual Town's Tourism Office, he remarked.

Lussy admitted to being approached by Veyt's wife for help after he was overcome by fatigue while kayaking from Tanimbar Island in Maluku Tenggara Barat District to Tual, Muslimin stated.

"The Belgian citizen was found alive and then evacuated to Tual Town for a medical check-up," he confirmed, adding that several personnel of the local police and Tual Tourism Office were also involved in the search and rescue operation.

Apart from Indonesia's reputable rescue team, the principle of safety first has been strongly vouched by Vice President Kalla.

Hence, that principle should constantly be prioritized as it, indeed, mirrors the interests of Indonesians and foreign visitors keen on travelling to cities and towns within the archipelago.

The need to maintain Indonesia's reputation in transport safety is paramount amid the Indonesian government's efforts to realize the target of 17 million foreign tourist arrivals that it has set this year.

Referring to the Ministry of Tourism's statistical data, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, India, the United States, Taiwan, and European countries were the top 10 contributors of foreign tourists to Indonesia.

The governments of these countries are highly concerned and sentient of the safety of their citizens while traveling abroad. Related news: SAR looking for one victim of singking boat in Lingga waters

Related news: Basarnas team identifies 19 victims of sunken Arim Jaya motorboat


Translator: Kornelis Kaha, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2019