Ferry passengers jump overboard after discovering others on board may have coronavirus as it comes in to dock in Indonesia
- Terrifying scenes unfolded after a Covid-19 risk was highlighted on board a ferry
- The ship was making its way to dock in Indonesia when mass panic broke out
- Authorities sought to block the vessel docking due to fears of suspected cases
- Eager to get on shore and avoid risk of transmission, some took to the water
- Ferry was carrying 255, mostly migrant workers returning home from Malaysia
Panic-stricken passengers on a ferry preparing to dock in Maumere, Indonesia caused scenes of hysteria after word got out that coronavirus carriers were suspected on board.
The deadly virus continues to sweep the globe, causing a rising death toll across all continents in its wake.
Now horrifying footage has emerged of passengers on board the large ship taking the extreme action of hurling themselves overboard, as people were preparing to disembark the vessel.
Passengers swam ashore after authorities sought to block the vessel docking due to fears of suspected coronavirus cases, as tensions rise over the spread of the disease across the archipelago.
The ferry travelling via Indonesian Borneo and the island of Sulawesi was blocked when trying to make port in Maumere in the eastern island of Flores, amid fears three crew members on board had contracted the novel coronavirus.
Panic erupted on board the Lambelu as it prepared to dock in Maumere, Indonesia, after local authorities looked to stop the vessel due to fears of coronavirus sufferers being on board
Crowds gathered on the deck as some people decided to take the extreme measure of jumping into the water, to avoid the risk of contracting the virus and ensuring they could disembark
The ferry was carrying 255 people, mostly migrant workers returning home from Malaysia
Footage circulated online showed how passengers put on orange life jackets before hurling themselves several feat down into the deep blue waters below
Crowds gathered on the deck of the ship and passengers began to film as individuals clambered for orange life jackets and flung themselves into the deep blue sea below, before swimming ashore.
Authorities then debated whether the ship, the Lambelu, would be permitted to dock, an official said.
‘We ask for the passengers to cooperate with health protocols before disembarking from the ship and refrain from any actions that could be harmful,’ Wisnu Handoko, an official at the transport ministry, said in a statement.
Supplementary videos later shared on social media showed medical workers in protective gear carrying out tests on board the Lambelu after it was allowed to dock, before passengers were moved into quarantine on land.
The ferry was carrying 255 passengers, mostly migrant workers returning home from Malaysia, after the neighbouring country imposed a coronavirus lockdown.
In a sign of growing anxiety about the spread of the coronavirus, residents in Maumere gathered at the port to protest the ship’s arrival on Tuesday.
As of Wednesday, Indonesia had recorded 2,956 cases of the coronavirus and 240 deaths, with many of the cases in the capital Jakarta though a growing number in other provinces.
There are fears in less developed parts of the country, including Flores where there are no confirmed cases, that people travelling from other cities could spread the disease to areas where healthcare facilities are ill-equipped.
Tests conducted on passengers from the Lambelu on Tuesday evening were sent to a laboratory on Java island with passengers in quarantine expected to wait up to a week for the results.