Jakarta (VNA) – At least four people died and more than 30 others were missing after a ferry went up in flames off Indonesia’s Java island, an Indonesian official said on August 23.
East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera confirmed at least four people died in the accident and dozens were unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak port said the crew couldn’t extinguish the fire because the water pumps weren’t working so passengers started to abandon the ship.
The KM Santika Nusantara ferry with 277 people on board was travelling between Indonesia’s second largest city of Surabaya and the town of Balikpapan on Borneo island when it caught fire on August 22.
According to rescuers, 245 people have been evacuated.
Ferries are an important means of transport in Indonesia, which is made up of some 17,000 islands. Sea connections are cheaper and more extensive than air links. However, safety standards are not always strictly enforced and accidents occur fairly often.
Two months ago, 21 people died when an overloaded ferry sank in rough seas off Java’s north coast.
Last year, an Indonesian ferry sank into the depths of one of the world’s deepest lakes on Sumatra island, killing about 160 people.
More than 300 people are estimated to have drowned in 2009 when a ferry sank between Sulawesi and Borneo.-VNA
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