Twenty three people were killed and dozens injured on Sunday after a fire ripped through a boat carrying nearly 250 people to islands north of the Indonesian capital Jakarta, the city’s search and rescue agency said.
The Zahro Express caught fire shortly after leaving Muara Angke port in North Jakarta. The cause of the fire was thought to be a short circuit on a power generator, said police, reports Reuters.
Police, Red Cross and rescue workers search for victims after a fire ripped through a boat carrying tourists to islands north of the capital, at Muara Angke port in Jakarta, Indonesia
“Thick smoke suddenly emerged, blanketing the cabin,” said survivor Ardi who was being treated in a Jakarta hospital.
The boat was towed back to port where a Reuters witness saw victims in body bags being removed from the badly charred ship.
According to the head of Jakarta’s search and rescue agency, Hendra Sudirman, 248 people were on board, more than double the previous estimate of 100, and out of more than 200 people rescued, 32 were being treated at hospitals in Jakarta.
Sea accidents are frequent in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago, with vessels often overloaded and having too few life jackets on boat.