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At Least 23 Dead in Indonesia Ferry Fire

1 Jan 2017 9:56 am
Associated Press 

JAKARTA, Indonesia--At least 23 people were killed and 17 others were missing after a ferry caught fire off the coast of Indonesia's capital on Sunday, officials said.

The vessel was carrying more than 230 people from Jakarta's port of Muara Angke to Tidung, a resort island in the Kepulauan Seribu chain, when it caught fire, officials said.

One official from the country's disaster management agency said that the fire gutted about half of the ship. He said that about 22 injured victims were taken to hospitals.

A search for those still missing was under way involving about 10 ships, the disaster management agency said in a statement.

Witnesses told local television that the fire broke out about 15 minutes after the ship left Muara Angke.

The cause of the blaze was not immediately clear. Some passengers told local media that they first saw smoke coming from the ferry's engine.

Television footage showed people in the water with the ferry in flames in the background. A woman in the water can be heard screaming "Ya Allah! Ya Allah!" or "Oh God! Oh God!"

Another woman told the television station that she and other passengers were rescued by a small boat.

Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, the world's largest archipelagic nation, with more than 17,000 islands. Many accidents are blamed on lax regulation of boat services.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.
 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 01, 2017 04:56 ET (09:56 GMT)

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