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Don't Go Down with the Ship

34 Tourists Narrowly Avert Tragedy as Bali to Gili Trawangan Fast Ferry Sinks Near Padang Bai.

(8/23/2010) Tragedy was narrowly averted on Saturday, August 21, 2010, when a speed boat feryy sailing from Bali's east coast bound for Gili Trawangan sunk shortly after departing Bali.

NusaBali reports that a large wave struck the Eka Jaya I speedboat carrying 34 passengers at Gili Tepekong near Candidasa, just 10 minutes after the vessel departed the port of Padang Bai. Captained by Sulito, the boat was reportedly struck by a large wave causing a hole in the hull which led it it's eventual sinking. The 34 passengers on board were rescued from the water by two other speed boats coincidentally operating in the same area as the incident.

The rescuing boats the Wahana Candidasa and Gili-Gili - brought the passengers back to Padang Bai at approximately 2:00 pm. Traumatized, wet and shivering the passengers were reportedly otherwise uninjured.

The near tragic accident points to a number of possible shortcomings in safety procedures in place at Bali's busy port of Padang Bai. Port authorities were apparently unaware of the mishap until the passengers were brought back ashore by their rescuers. Meanwhile, the Volunteer Search and Rescue Squad in Karangasem told the press that they are unfortunately "operating in a vacuum" due to a lack of facilities and equipment.