14 people were killed in a ferry fire in southeastern Indonesia
Fourteen people were killed in a ferry fire carrying 240 passengers off the southeastern coast of Indonesia.
According to CNN Indonesia and other local media on the 25th (local time), a fire broke out on the KM Express Cantica 77 heading from Coupang, Dongnusatengara, Indonesia, to Kalabahi, nearby Alor Island in the afternoon of the previous day. When the ship caught fire, Indonesian authorities dispatched three rescue ships to rescue them. Fishermen from nearby areas also joined the rescue operation. Some of the passengers also jumped into the sea wearing life jackets.
Local police said 230 passengers and 10 crew members were on board the ferry, adding that a total of 226 people were rescued during the rescue operation, but 14 died. The injured were reportedly taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Police then explained that the fire started on the top deck of the ferry and are investigating the identity of the dead and the cause of the fire.
However, local media raised suspicions that more than 300 people were on the 250-seat passenger ship, contrary to police announcements, and that the ship was overloaded and caught fire due to passengers exceeding the quota, and rescue work was delayed.
In Indonesia, which consists of about 17,000 islands, various ships are used as the main means of transportation. As a result, marine accidents such as boat capsized in bad weather often occur. On top of that, ships are old and safety standards are loose, which can lead to major accidents. In mid-July, the KM Kahaya Sarapa, a passenger ship carrying 77 people, sank while operating in bad weather and high waves. Of the 77 passengers, only 64 were able to swim ashore and save their lives. In 2018, a passenger ship carrying more than 200 people sank in a volcanic crater lake in North Sumatra, killing 167 people.