UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Indonesian rescuers have found three bodies and evacuated 300 from a burning ferry off the coast of Java island, an official said on Saturday.
The KM Santika Nusantara ferry was carrying passengers between Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city, and Balikpapan town on the new island of Borneo when a fire broke out on Thursday night, government official Syahrol Nugroho told TV One television. The ferry had initially reported 227 people.
Basarnas rescue agency confirmed in a statement on Saturday that the ferry was carrying 303 passengers and three of them died.
“The search will continue today,” agency official Budi Prasetyo told Reuters earlier. The rescue agency deployed several ships from nearby ports and a plane to monitor the situation from the air.
Prasetio acknowledged the inconsistency in the number of people aboard the ferry, attributing it to the fact that many did not register on the passenger list.
Officials gave no details of the possible cause of the fire. Officials said rescue efforts were complicated by the list of passengers containing only 111 names.
Conflicting passenger data is a long-standing problem in the Indonesian transport sector. Ferries are an important means of transport in Indonesia, which is home to some 17,000 islands.
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