An engine explosion and fire tore through a ferry travelling between the Indonesian islands of Bali and Lombok, injuring 19 people including four Australian women.
The ferry was carrying 129 passengers, many of them tourists from Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Italy, USA, Spain, Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, Ireland, France and Germany.
Initial reports said 11 passengers received burns and eight suffered broken bones but the details of individual injuries were unclear.
Authorities are working on the theory that a fuel line burst, followed by the boat’s engine blowing to pieces and sparking a fierce fire.
Some injured passengers were reportedly lifted off the stricken boat on surfboards and rushed to a public hospital.
Local news service Antara News quoted police saying the fast ferry caught fire after an explosion under near its rudder, followed by a second explosion on the left of the hull.
Engine explosions are all too common among the many ferries that ply between ports in Southeast Asia. In April, a 12-year-old Israeli girl, apparently trapped inside a bathroom, died as a fire engulfed a tourist ferry off Krabi in Thailand and burned it to the waterline.
That also involved a violent explosion in the engine room, almost immediately followed by fierce fire.
Written by Peter Needham