Indonesian Passenger Ferry Fire Kills At Least 15

Friday, February 23, 2007
A fire broke out on an Indonesian ferry carrying 300 passengers killing at least 16 people and sending scores of passengers jumping into the sea, reports said. More than a dozen people remained unaccounted for following the country's second major maritime disaster in as many months. The pre-dawn fire started in a truck on the Levina 1's car deck, hours after the 2,000-ton vessel left the capital, Jakarta, for the northwestern island of Bangka, said port official Sato Bisri. Aerial footage showed flames and heavy black smoke pouring from the 27-year-old ferry as authorities launched a massive rescue operation, plucking 275 survivors from the Java Sea and the ship's charred hull.

Two warships, three helicopters, a tug boat and nine cargo ships were taking part in the rescue operations, scouring surrounding waters for more survivors, said a port official. According to the report, the ferry was carrying 300 passengers, but the ship's log indicated 228 passengers, 42 trucks and eight cars were on board. Tallies are often incomplete and boats overloaded. In late December, a passenger ferry sank in a storm in the Java Sea, killing more than 400 people. Source: AP

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