23 dead after ferry catches fire near Jakarta

Alicia WestJan 02, 2017

Although there may have been as many as almost 250 people on board an Indonesian ferry when it caught fire Sunday, killing at least 23 passengers, there were only about 100 life jackets available, Al Jazeera reported.

Local media reports say the fire started in the engine room shortly after the ferry left Jakarta.

National Search and Rescue Agency Deputy Chief Heronimus Guru said that 32 of the 224 survivors had been injured and rushed to three hospitals in North Jakarta.

The vessel was carrying more than 240 passengers to the resort island of Tidung about 50 kilometers northwest of Jakarta. Suddenly, the vessel caught fire and made the passengers onboard-most of them were tourists-panicked. "In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored", Reuters news agency quoted the passenger as saying.

The head of the Jakarta Transportation Department said the body would investigate an apparent discrepancy between the number of passengers listed on the manifest and those on board the boat at the time of the accident.

In November at least 54 people died after an overcrowded speedboat struck a reef and sank on its way from Malaysia to the Indonesian island of Batam in the South China Sea.

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