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Boat carrying 20 foreign tourists sinks in eastern Indonesia, 15 missing

JAKARTA - Fifteen foreign tourists were missing on Sunday after a boat travelling between islands in eastern Indonesia sank, an Indonesian search-and-rescue official said.


Suryaman, based on the island of Lombok, told Reuters that 10 people had been rescued after the ship sank on its way from that island to Komodo Islands. He said that he did not know the fate of the other 15 people on the vessel, which had a crew of five Indonesians and was carrying 20 foreigners.


The vessel left Lombok on Thursday night and sank about 7 pm local time "and we only received a report at 8 am," said Suryaman, adding that poor communication caused a delay in deploying a search-and-rescue team. Local fishermen rescued five people before the team arrived, he said.


The official said that of the 10 rescued people, the nationalities were known for five - two each from New Zealand and Spain, and one from Britain. Tajudin Sam, who runs the tour company operating the boat, said it likely encountered stormy weather.


A boat ride from Lombok to Komodo can take three days. Komodo is famous for its monitor lizards, which draw many tourists 

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