A phinisi (schooner) carrying reporters assigned to cover President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and First Lady Iriana’s work visit to Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) capsized on Tuesday afternoon, the State Palace has confirmed.
Presidential Secretariat deputy head of protocol, press and media Bey Triadi Machmudin said in a statement that the Plataran Phinisi Bali flipped over while en route to Bidadari Island.
All seven reporters who were aboard the vessel – Edho Ferdihanzah (TVRI), Krismastianto Baruno Suryokusumo (Berita Satu TV), Agus Rahmat (vivanews.com), Lizsa Egeham (liputan6.com), Desca Lidya Natalia (Antara news agency), Nina Susilo (Kompas daily) and Anindyka Pribadi (SCTV) – and crew members of the phinisi survived the incident.
However, most of the reporters" equipment was lost in the incident.
East Nusa Tenggara administration spokesperson Marius Jelamu confirmed to The Jakarta Post on Tuesday that the boat belonged to Hotel Plataran in Labuan Bajo. According to its website, plataran.com, Phinisi Bali is the smallest among four boats they operate. On Monday, President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo boarded Plataran"s largest phinisi, called Phinisi Felicia, with several ministers.
Prior to the incident, the reporters had covered the final item on the President’s agenda, which saw him hand out land certificates to residents on Tuesday morning. After the coverage, the reporters decided to board the phinisi to Bidadari Island, whereas the President and his entourage drove back to Komodo Airport, from where they flew back to Jakarta.
The boat ran into strong winds and currents that eventually caused the vessel to flip over at sea.
“The currents suddenly grew bigger and capsized the boat in seconds,” said Desca, one of the reporters traveling on the phinisi.
Employees of nearby Hotel Plataran rushed toward the capsizing vessel on a speedboat to rescue those on board, all of whom were taken to the hotel and examined by medical professionals from Siloam Hospital in Labuan Bajo.
At the time of writing, all seven reporters were waiting to board a 3:40 p.m. flight back to Jakarta. (rfa)
Markus Makur contributed to this story from West Manggarai.
Editor"s note: This article has been updated.