Fire rips through Jakarta ferry, 23 dead

Tourist vessel, carrying more than 200 passengers, caught fire near Jakarta after generator short-circuited on board.

    The Indonesian archipelago is dependent on boat transport and accidents in the region are common [EPA]
    The Indonesian archipelago is dependent on boat transport and accidents in the region are common [EPA]

    At least 23 people have been killed and 17 others wounded when a ferry caught fire near the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, an official said.

    Rescue officials said another 17 people were still unaccounted for. 

    The boat caught on fire on Sunday about 1.6km out of port on its way to Tidung Island, a popular holiday destination in the Thousand Islands district, north of Jakarta.

    "The report [from the boat] said there were about 100 people on board, but we are not sure," Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the country's national disaster management agency spokesman, said.


    Purwo told Al Jazeera that 194 people out of a possible 247 were rescued, though it was still unclear how many people were on board. 

    "There could be more. We are still searching," Nugroho said.

    Nugroho added there were just 100 life jackets on board. 

    The passenger vessel, Zahro Express, was carrying about 200 people from Jakarta's port of Muara Angke to Tidung, a resort island in the Kepulauan Seribu chain, when it caught fire.

    Seventeen people were taken to hospital with injuries, according to local police spokesman Ferry Budiharso.

    Budiharso said the fire started when a power generator on the boat short-circuited.

     A rescue team has been deployed to search for the missing passengers, officials said [Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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