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Trawangan-Bali Fast Ferry Sinks

40 Passengers and 4 Crew Abandon Ship and Manage to Make it Safely to Shore in First Shipping Mishap of 2009.

(1/5/2009) Bali Post reports that 35 foreign tourists and 5 local tourists had a close call with fate on Friday, January 2, 2009, when the fast ferry boat carrying them from Gili Trawangan (near Lombok) to Serangan Island at Bali sunk just miles of Bali's coast.

The Lian Sengiggi lost power and started taking on water near the Watu Klotok Temple in the Klungkung Regency.

Using life preservers the crew and passengers abandoned ship and made it to shore, some with the help of local fishermen who came to their assistance.

The passengers and crew were brought to the Mapolsek police station to make statements necessary to authorities in their investigations. According to Bali Post, a number of passengers rescued from the sea were not listed on the formal official manifest sent from Gili Trawangan, suggesting the ship was not in compliance with shipping rules.

The ship reportedly left Gili Trawangan at 12 noon and, after two hours into its journey, lost power and began to take on water. The ship quickly sank and the passengers, jumped into the sea where they held onto each other, forming three separate groups. Two of the groups managed to swim to shore at Jumpai, while the third group was carried by strong current to Kusamba beach where local fishing boats came to their rescue.

The ship's captain, Agus Purnomo, refused to comment to the press on the circumstances surrounding the loss of his ship, saying, "Frankly, I panicked. I can't explain anything. What's clear, the water suddenly rushed in. I don't remember anything more."

The ship carried a crew of 4 with the 40 tourists hailing from Indonesia, Sweden, Australia, Switzerland, Great Britain and Germany.