Thursday, February 10, 2011

Batam-Bound Ferry Burns; 225 Rescued

More than 200 passengers have been rescued from a ferry that caught fire early on Tuesday off the coast of Jakarta, the Transport Ministry said.

The ferry, which was travelling to Batam island, south of Singapore, was 26 kilometres north of Jakarta when the blaze broke out at 3.35am, ministry spokesman Bambang Ervan said.

The fire was extinguished about 90 minutes later, he added.

“All 225 passengers on board the Selvia were rescued,” Ervan said, adding the government has launched an investigation into the cause of the fire.

A passenger who was travelling with her young son told local television she was asleep when an explosion occurred.

“I was woken up by a loud explosion at about 3:00 am and I heard people saying that the engine has blown up,” Kurnia said.

“I saw thick smoke and rushed to find a life jacket. I then felt that the the ship started to tilt to the left.”

The incident came after nearly 30 people were killed earlier this month when a ferry with more than 400 people on board caught fire.

Up to 335 people were killed when a heavily overloaded ferry sank off the island of Sulawesi in January 2009.

Filed under: News Alerts

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