Two dead and 20 injured in Indonesian fast ferry explosion

Published:  16 Sep at 6 PM
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A modern, Australian-built fast ferryboat has exploded during a run between Bali and the island of Lombok.

The Gili Cat ferryboat was carrying around 40 people when it blew up after smoke was seen pouring from its engine. It’s not yet certain whether the dead and injured are all tourists holidaying in Bali or whether expats were caught in the tragedy. One Austrian woman and one European woman were killed, and at least 20 passengers received injuries.

Forensic teams are investigating the cause of the fatal explosion, with one who did not wish to be named stating he though it was simply an accident. Posts on Southeast Asian forums are claming the ferryboat’s battery was placed next to the fuel tank, citing this as a probable cause. The boat’s captain is still being questioned as to his version of events.

District police chief Sugend Sudarso told local media the explosion had happened only 200 metres from the dock in Bali, saying the blast shattered all the boat’s windows and trashed the seating. One of the victims died after being struck by flying debris. The manifest noted passengers were mostly from European countries including the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy and France.

The boat is owned by an Australian company and was constructed in Australia, a feature made much of on the ferry company’s website. The company was the first in Bali to offer fast ferries between the popular visitor destination and its offshore islands. Quotes from the website include ‘you can’t get any safer than that’, an advertorial the boat owners may be regretting right now.

At present, those injured in the blast are being treated in a local hospital, and enquiries into the cause of the explosion are ongoing. The region is infamous for ferry boat accidents, and the sea around Bali is considered a dangerous stretch of water due to its huge tides.
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