Two British people were forced to swim for six hours after their boat sank.
The tourists had to swim to shore after the boat they using to travel between Indonesian islands sank. Both Britons needed hospital treatment and two tourists are still missing after the boat, which was travelling from Lombok Island to the Komodo Islands.
The boat was beset by stormy weather and sank at 7pm on Saturday evening; so far, a total of 23 people have been rescued, but the fate of the other passengers has not yet been established. Various local fishing vessels assisted with rescuing passengers, but official rescue teams were not scrambled until 8am the following morning due to “poor communication.”
One French survivor, Bertrand Homassel, said: “Six people were in the lifeboat. The others climbed on to the roof of the boat, which had not completely sunk. We waited until midday on Saturday. We were five kilometres from the coast – there were many big waves separating us from the coast.
“People started to panic; everyone took the decision to swim to the closest island, five kilometres away, where there was an erupting volcano.” Mr Homassel went on to say that the group swam for six hours to the island of Sangeang, where drank their own urine for water over night. In the morning, the survivors were able to attract the attention of a passing boat and were rescued.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office issued a statement confirming that the two British people had been hospitalised following the capsizing: “We are in contact with the local authorities about the incident and stand ready to offer consular assistance to any other British nationals who may be involved.”