Terrifying scenes unfolded after rumours of a Covid-19 risk circulated on a ferry. The ship which was carrying 255 people, mostly migrant workers returning home from Malaysia, was making its way to dock in Indonesia when mass panic broke out because authorities sought to block the vessel docking, amid fears three crew members on board had contracted the novel coronavirus. Eager to get on shore and avoid risk of transmission, passengers flung themselves into the sea in life vests and swam ashore as authorities debated whether the ship, the Lambelu, would be permitted to dock.
When the 255 passengers were then told of the decision, five of them decided to swim ashore – and promptly threw themselves into the water as those around them screamed. All those overboard took life-jackets before they jumped, and were later picked up by rescuers in the area. None of them were said to be injured in the incident.