23 dead as fire rips through Jakarta ferry

23 dead as fire rips through Jakarta ferry

At least 23 people have been killed and 17 others wounded when a ferry caught fire near the Indonesian capital, Jakarta.

Rescue officials said a further 17 people were still unaccounted for.

The boat caught fire on Sunday about 1.6km out of port on its way to Tidung Island, a popular holiday destination in the Thousand Islands district, north of Jakarta.

“The report (from the boat) said there were about 100 people on board but we are not sure,” Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, the country’s national disaster management agency spokesman, said.

Nugroho said 194 people out of a possible 247 were rescued, though it was still unclear how many people were on board.

“There could be more. We are still searching,” he said.

Nugorho added there were just 100 lifejackets on board.

The passenger vessel, Zahro Express, was carrying about 200 people from Jakarta’s port of Muara Angke to Tidung, a resort island in the Kepulauan Seribu chain, when it caught fire.

Seventeen people were taken to hospital with injuries, according to local police spokesman Ferry Budiharso.

Budiharso said the fire started when a power generator on the boat short-circuited. 

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