Jakarta — Seven journalists assigned to cover President Joko Widodo’s visit to Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara survived a mishap at sea after a schooner (midsize boat) they had boarded capsized in Bidadari Island’s waters on Tuesday.
The accident occurred on their way to Bidadari Island after having covered all the programmes of the President’s working visit. President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) and his entourage had flown back to Jakarta. The survivors are Edho Ferdihanzah of (TVRI), Krismastianto Baruno Suryokusmo (Berita Satu TV), Agus Rahmat (Vivanews.com), Lizsa Egeham (Liputan6.com), Desca Lidya Natalia (ANTARA News Agency), Nina Susilo (Kompas) and Anindyaka Pribadi (SCTV).
“After the President flew back to Jakarta, the journalists were keen to know about all the things on board the schooner in Labuan Bajo. By having our own experience, we would accurately write about it, including its safety equipment,” she said.
However, in the middle of the sea, the schooner they boarded was suddenly hit by a rogue wave and strong winds resulting from the sudden change of weather. Fortunately, everyone on board survived the sea accident.
They were rescued and evacuated by the coast guards of the Plataran Hotel who were rushed to the site of the accident by a speedboat. They were also examined by a team of doctors from Labuan Bajo’s Siloam Hospital.
The schooner that the reporters boarded was not the one that the President used during his visit in Labuan Bajo, Presidential Secretariat Deputy Head of Protocol, Press and Media Bey Triadi Machmudin said.
Instead, it was earlier boarded by State-owned Enterprises Minister Erick Thohir and Environment and Forestry Minister Siti Nurbaya, Machmudin said in a press statement. President Jokowi and First Lady Iriana Jokowi were in Labuan Bajo from Sunday to Tuesday to observe the latest developments in tourism infrastructure facilities there.
Among the top officials who joined the President’s working visit were Head of the Presidential Secretariat Heru Budi Hartono, Commander of the Presidential Security Detail (Paspampres) Major General Maruli Simanjuntak, President’s Military Secretary Major General Suharyanto and the President’s Special Staff Adamas Belva Syah Devara also joined the President’s visit.
During his visit, President Jokowi observed the construction of Labuan Bajo Pier’s multipurpose terminal and came to Puncak Waringin, a new tourist destination in Labuan Bajo. Labuan Bajo, a tourist resort that CNN International had placed in the world’s second-best spots for snorkeling in 2015, has been selected by the Indonesian Government to be one of the highly-prioritized tourist destinations.