"According to data of the Bulukumba and South Sulawesi Regional Disaster Mitigation Agency, as of 11 p.m. local time on late Tuesday, the death toll in the KMP Lestari Maju sinking incident had increased to 24," spokesman of the National Disaster Mitigation Agency Sutopo Purwo Nugroho stated when contacted here on Wednesday.
Some 71 passengers survived in the incident, while 41 others were still missing.
Some passengers still clung to the boat amid the high waves and unfavorable weather.
"Currently, the evacuation process is still ongoing," he added.
KMP Lestari Maju, carrying 139 passengers and 48 vehicles, sank in the Selayar waters of South Sulawesi after its left hull engine broke down at around 1:40 p.m. local time and caused the ship to take in water. The condition worsened due to unfavorable weather in the waters.
The boat also had aboard a truck carrying payroll worth Rp35 billion of local civil servants from South and West Sulawesi BPD Bank.
KMP Lestari Maju, which was scheduled to arrive at the Pamatata Port within half an hour before the accident, sank near a beach in Bungayya Village of Bonto Matene Sub-district in Selayar Islands District.
KMP Lestari Maju had a capacity to carry 250 passengers and 40 vehicles.
According to its manifest, 120 passengers had disembarked at Bira Port and 139 others went aboard the vessel for the Pamatata Port in Selayar Islands District.