Tourists rescued from blazing boat off NZ

By Aiswarya Lakshmi
Tuesday, January 19, 2016
The Pee Jay V. Photo: White Island Tours

 A passenger ferry, Pee Jay V,  carrying 60 people caught fire off the coast of New Zealand on Monday, officials say, but all those on board were rescued safely.

 
The incident began at about 3:45 p.m. local time on Monday when a call came in from a White Island tour boat in the vicinity of the Whakatane Harbour, located on the North Island of New Zealand. Live pictures showed large flames coming from the vessel, and black smoke continued to billow from the ferry at 5 p.m.
 
Police spokeswoman Kim Perks said all 53 passengers and seven crew members were forced overboard to escape the fire and smoke.
 
Transport Accident Investigation Commission will look into what caused the blaze on the boat when the trouble at sea occurred on Monday afternoon.
 
Two people were injured during the incident, including one person who suffered from smoke inhalation and one who suffered a minor injury caused by jumping from the boat.
 
One woman, who jumped off the PeeJay V after a day visiting the volcano with her husband, described the frightening moment she feared the vessel would explode.
 
The commission's lead investigator into the matter, Rob Thompson, says although the fire began in the middle area of the boat it was only speculation at this stage as to the cause.
 

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