13 killed as passenger ship catches fire in Indonesia

Jakarta, October 25, 2022

Rescuers recovered 13 bodies and rescued 263 people as a fire broke out on a passenger ship in the waters off East Nusa Tenggara province in central Indonesia on Monday.

Among the survivors, some suffered from injuries, said Saidar Rahmanjaya, head of the operation unit of the provincial search and rescue office.

"The total death toll stood at 13 now," he told Xinhua news agency over phone.

He said that the search and rescue operation was halted now and it would resume on Tuesday.

Rahmanjaya, who is also the field coordinator of the search and rescue operation, said that the rescue operation involved people from his office, another passenger ship and sailors from the area.

He declined to give the number of missing persons in the accident, stressing that he would focus on the rescue operation.

The evacuation of the passengers and the crew members of the ship was immediately carried out after the fire broke out, Putu Sudayana, head of the provincial search and rescue office, told the news agency over phone.

However, he said that huge waves hampered the evacuation of the passengers of the ship.

The ship, Shantika Lestari, caught fire when it was sailing in the waters off Kupang city, the capital of the province, according to Richard Pelt, a senior official of the provincial disaster management and mitigation agency.

The ship had departed from a seaport in Kupang city and was heading to the Alor district of the province, he told the news agency.

IANS

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