They rushed to the front of the boat at the popular selfie spot — and it began taking on water.
Nine people are presumed dead after trying to take a selfie in Indonesia.
The group of 19 people were aboard a boat on Kedung Ombo Boyolali Reservoir in Central Java. As it was about to stop at a floating stall, a large number of the passengers shifted to the front to take selfies — and it capsized.
All the passengers were thrown into the water, many of them children. None were wearing lifejackets. Seven people have so far been confirmed drowned, with two more missing, presumed dead.
Central Java Police Chief Inspector General Ahmad Luthfi told CNN Indonesia that there was no safety equipment at all on board, and that the driver of the boat was a 13-year-old boy.
“It was about to reach its destination,” he said, “but suddenly many shifted forward to the front of the boat to take selfies. The boat was unbalanced, and overturned, all passengers were thrown into the reservoir.”
The victims were aged between 4 and 38. A mother and her twins were amongst the dead, found still clinging to each other in the water.
Another survivor lost five members of his family.
According to witnesses, the floating shop is a popular selfie spot among visitors. One survivor told Kompas that this time, the weight of all the passenger was such that the boat began taking on water as soon as everyone moved to one end, until it became impossible to maintain its balance.
Police are now investigating if any fault lies with the boat’s operator. The vessel allegedly had a max capacity of 14 people.
Made up of more than 17,000 islands, boating is very popular in Indonesia, but safety standards are not always of the highest order. In 2018, a ferry carrying more than 200 people sank, of which only 21 people survived.