Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The search operation for 17 missing passengers of the Cantika Express 77 ferry that caught fire in the waters of Naikliu, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, has been extended for three days.

"The search operation for the missing passengers of the Cantika Express 77 ferry has been extended for the next three days," Chief of Kupang Search and Rescue (SAR) Office I Putu Sudayana remarked here on Sunday.

The extension of the search operation to Wednesday, November 2, was agreed at an evaluation meeting of the joint team of SAR workers who rescued the Cantika Express 77 passengers. The search operation had been going on for seven days on October 24-30, 2022.

The evaluation meeting was attended by representatives from the Navy, Water and Air Police, East Nusa Tenggara Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD), state-owned insurer Jasa Raharja, and Kupang Port Authority and Harbormaster Office (KSOP).

"The search is carried out by the SAR team to find the 17 missing victims," Sudayana said.

According to Kupang Search and Rescue Agency, there were 362 victims of the Cantika Express 77 ferry that caught fire on Monday, October 24. Of that number, 325 people were found safe, 20 people died, while 17 passengers were still declared missing.

He added that the joint SAR team will try to search for the missing passengers around Semau Island and Kupang Bay.

Earlier, on Saturday, October 29, a team of divers had been deployed to search for victims suspected of being trapped in the wrecks of the Cantika Express 77 ferry.

"We are mobilizing Kupang SAR to find the victims of the Cantika Express 77 ferry who are still missing," Sudayana informed.

However, no victims were found trapped in the burned shipwrecks.

He explained that some part of the ferry was still intact because the hull was underwater so it did not burn.

Related news: East Nusa Tenggara: Death toll in ferry fire rises to 17
Related news: Police identify 14 killed in Kupang ferry fire

Translator: Benediktus J, Kenzu
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022