JAKARTA – At least four people died and nearly three dozen were missing after a passenger ferry went up in flames off Indonesia’s Java island, authorities said on Friday (Aug 23).
The boat was travelling from Indonesia’s second-biggest city Surabaya to Balikpapan on Borneo island with some 277 people aboard when it caught fire on Thursday evening, according to police.
Television images on Friday showed plumes of black smoke pouring out of the boat, as search teams hunted for the missing passengers after scores were rescued.
East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera confirmed Friday that at least four people died in the accident and dozens were unaccounted for.
Earlier, Syachrul Nugroho, a spokesman for Surabaya’s Tanjung Perak port, gave a lower figure for the number of missing.
“We don’t know if they’re still on the boat,” he said.
The cause of the accident was not immediately clear.
Nugroho said it appeared a fire had broken out and the ferry’s power went down, cutting off its water pumps.