Over dozen die after boat caught fire in Indonesia

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A passenger boat carrying 240 people caught fire off southern Indonesia, killing 14, rescue officials have said.

According to international media, the KM Express Cantika 77 was headed to Kalabahi from Kupang in East Nusa Tenggara province when it caught fire.

It was carrying 230 passengers and 10 crew members, officials said. The cause of the fire was being investigated.

Rescuers from the Kupang Search and Rescue Agency and nearby vessels recovered 226 survivors, the National Search and Rescue Agency said in a statement. It said 14 people were confirmed dead.

Ferry and boat tragedies are common in Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 17,000 islands, where ferries are often used for transport and safety is lax.

In 2018, an overcrowded ferry with about 200 people on board sank in a deep volcanic crater lake in North Sumatra province, killing 167 people.

In one of the country’s worst recorded disasters, an overcrowded passenger ship sank in February 1999 with 332 people aboard.

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