Indonesian Air Force-Aug. 17, 2014
Indonesian fighter planes fly over the presidential palace during a celebration of the country’s 69th Independence Day in Jakarta Sunday. The festive mood was not shared by certain tourists and their families in the wake of a boat sinking between the islands of Lombok and Komodo. Reuters/Beawiharta

JAKARTA, Indonesia (Reuters) -- Fifteen foreign tourists were missing Sunday after a boat traveling between islands in eastern Indonesia sank, a search-and-rescue official said. Based on the island of Lombok, Suryaman told Reuters that 10 people had been rescued after the ship sank on its way from that island to Komodo Island.

The official said he did not know the fate of the other 15 people on the vessel, which had a crew of five Indonesians and was carrying 20 foreigners.

The vessel left Lombok Thursday night and sank Saturday about 7 p.m. local time (8 a.m. EDT), “and we only received a report at 8 a.m. [Sunday],” said Suryaman, who added that poor communication caused a delay in deploying a search-and-rescue team.

Local fishermen rescued five people before the team arrived, he said. The official said that among the 10 rescued people, the nationalities were known for five: two each from New Zealand and Spain, and one from Britain.

Tajudin Sam, who runs the tour company operating the boat, said it likely encountered stormy weather. A boat ride from Lombok to Komodo can take three days.

Komodo is famous for its monitor lizards, which draw many tourists.

(Reporting by Chris Nusatya; Writing by Kanupriya Kapoor; Editing by Richard Borsuk)