Kurt Bayer

Kurt Bayer is an NZME. News Service reporter

Kiwis rescued after ferry sinking in Indonesia

Ten people have reportedly been rescued after the ship sank between Lombok and the Komodo Islands. Photo / Thinkstock
Ten people have reportedly been rescued after the ship sank between Lombok and the Komodo Islands. Photo / Thinkstock

Two New Zealanders rescued after a boat travelling through eastern Indonesia sank have been identified.

While the search for up to 15 missing foreign tourists continues, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has spoken to the two rescued New Zealanders

A spokesman said: "The NZ Embassy in Jakarta has spoken to two New Zealanders who were onboard the ferry and has confirmed their well being.

"They have requested privacy."

The couple have been named by officials at the scene as Tony Francis Lawton, 52, and Gaylene Cheryl Wilkinson, 53, who live in Takaka, at the south eastern end of Golden Bay in the Nelson region.

Ms Wilkinson was an outdoor education teacher at Golden Bay High School before retiring last year after 20 years at the school.

"Our best wishes to her as she seeks more outdoor adventures," the school said in farewelling her.

Mr Lawton is involved with the Tarakohe Marina Association which represents the boats at the Golden Bay marina.

Reuters reported that 10 people were rescued after the ship sank between Lombok Island and Komodo Island - home of the Komodo dragon, the world's largest lizard and a major tourist attraction.

A rescue official said the boat sank after hitting a reef in stormy conditions.

Reuters quoted an Indonesian search and rescue official as saying the boat had a crew of five Indonesians and was carrying 20 foreigners.

Local fishermen rescued some people from the water.

Reuters said of the 10 people, two were from New Zealand and Spain and one from Britain.

One survivor told AFP that some survivors managed to swim to a nearby island.

"We were 5km from the coast. There were many big waves separating us from the coast," said Frenchman Bertrand Homassel.

"People started to panic. Everyone took the decision to swim to the closest island, 5km away, where there was an erupting volcano."

After spending the night on the island, the group were rescued by a passing boat on Sunday.

It is understood that there are no New Zealanders among the missing.

The embassy is speaking to local authorities to try to find out what happened.

- APNZ

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