Four Australian tourists and two Indonesians have been rescued after they went missing for two days in the waters off the Indonesian province of Aceh
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Four Australian tourists and two Indonesians have been rescued after they went missing for two days in the waters off the Indonesian province of Aceh, officials and the father of an Australian said Tuesday.
Peter Foot, the father of Elliot Foot, who traveled to Indonesia to celebrate his 30th birthday with friends, said he received a text message from his son saying he was fine.
She says, “Hey, Dad, Elliot is here.” I am alive. Safe now. I love you. Peter Foot said at a news conference in Sydney on Tuesday. “He’s great, it’s good news. I’m going to have to talk to him and I want to see pictures and see what he looks like. It’s all good.”
A wooden speedboat carrying four Australians and three Indonesian crew members was hit by bad weather on Sunday. Details of how they ended up at sea remain unclear.
The head of the local rescue agency said one Indonesian crew member was still missing.
Peter Foote is told that his son has paddled his surfboard to an island to raise the alarm, and that the other three Australians have been found clinging to their boards in the sea. It is not clear how the two Indonesians survived.
The six rescued were taken to Penang Island to receive medical assistance.
Elliot Foote, partner Steve Weiss, and friends Will Teagle and Jordan Short were with the three Indonesians on the boat in the waters around Sarang Alo and Banyak Islands. They were part of a group of 12 Australians and five Indonesians in two boats who were traveling to Penang Island, a destination known for its pristine beach and good waves for surfing.
The boats left Nias Island, which is about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from the Indonesian island of Sumatra, on Sunday afternoon and experienced bad weather with very heavy rain during the journey.
Ten of them decided to stay and take shelter on the island of Sarang Alo, while the others continued the journey. The resort on Penang Island later reported to the agency that the boat with 10 passengers arrived safely later Sunday night, but the boat that left earlier was not seen.
Peter Foot said he expects his son and his friends to spend the last eight days of their vacation surfing.
In July, an overcrowded passenger boat capsized off the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, killing 15 people.
In 2018, an overcrowded ferry with about 200 people on board sank in a lake in North Sumatra province, killing 167 people. In one of the worst disasters on record in the country, an overcrowded passenger liner sank in February 1999 with 332 people on board. Only 20 people survived.
Associated Press journalist Rod McGuirk wrote from Canberra, Australia.
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