23 Dead In Indonesia Ferry Blast

indonesia-flagAt least 23 people have been killed and 17 more missing after a ferry caught fire off the coast of Indonesia on January 1, 2017.

The Zahro Express ferry was said to have been carrying more than 230 people who were off to celebrate the New Year holiday at Tidung Island, a resort about 50km (30 miles) from the capital, Jakarta,

Officials explained that it burst into flames about 1.5 km from Muara Angke port in Jakarta, shortly after setting sail.

According to the BBC, an official said 194 people were rescued and nine remain in the hospital, after many had jumped into the sea.

“15 minutes after the boat set sail, people at the back of the boat started making noise,” one passenger told local media.

“Then I saw smoke, there was more and more, the boat was crowded and people were fighting for life jackets.”

Another passenger said thick smoke suddenly filled the cabin.

“All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water. In a split second, the fire becomes bigger coming from where fuel is stored,” Reuters quoted the passenger as saying.

The charred remains of the boat were however towed back to Jakarta.