Ill-fated: A tug boat sprays water at Laut Teduh 2 ferry that catches fire off Java island in Serang, Banten, on Friday. The crowded ferry caught fire early Friday sending panicked passengers jumping into the sea, officials said. AP
A crowded ferry caught fire in the Sunda Strait and two trains collided in West Java, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds early on Friday, officials said.
The Laut Teduh 2 ferry carrying 438 passengers from Merak, Banten, to Bakauheni, Lampung, caught fire at around 4 a.m. local time on Friday, killing 11 passengers. The 427 others on board including all of the crew members are thought to have survived the accident.
Bakauheni Port official Khatilik said the roll-on-roll-off ferry had been towed to Ciwandan Port in Banten, and that the dead and injured had been taken to Cilegon General Hospital in Banten.
The death toll could rise as many passengers jumped into the sea and remain unaccounted for.
The ill-fated ferry was also carrying scores of trucks and cars. The cause of the accident is still unclear.
A number of the survivors immediately resumed their journey to Lampung by ship following the rescue effort.
A passenger from Bandarlampung, Rusidah, 43, said passengers panicked when the fire broke out. Nearly all of the passengers were screaming and scrambling to find life vests, and children were crying, he said.
“Many passengers jumped into the water. Some jumped into the sea with life vests, but most of them without due to the limited number,” Rusidah said.
“Luckily, the Titian Muhibah ship arrived an hour later. We then boarded the ship. I don’t know the fate of the passengers who leaped into the sea,” she added.
Khatilik said his office, search and rescue teams and Indonesian Military personnel were still searching for survivors. The rescue effort involved a number of ships, including the Mustika Kencana, Titian Murni, Windu Karya Prakarsa, Prima Nusantara and Dharma Kencana as well as navy vessels and tugboats, he said.
“The Merak Port administration will investigate the cause of the accident after the search process is over,” he said.
Banten Port official Thomas Chandra said the Laut Teduh ferry caught fire 40 minutes after it left Merak for Bakauheni. The accident location, he said, was around 10 kilometers from Merak Port, adding that the ferry was seaworthy and was equipped with passenger safety devices, such as fire extinguishers and lifebuoys.
In Banjar, West Java, three people were killed and 23 seriously injured when two trains — Kutojaya and Mutiara — collided at the Langensari railway station in Langensari district at around 2:30 a.m. local time on Friday.
State railway company PT KAI Purwokerto Operational Zone spokesman Surono said the accident occurred when the Bandung-bound Kutoarjo train stopped on the third track at Langensari station to wait for the Surabaya-bound Mutiara train to pass. However, the Mutiara train was travelling on the same track and hit the Kutojaya.
“We are still investigating the cause of the accident,” Surono said.
In Cirebon, West Java, the police on Friday named Ruslan, 35, the driver of a public van that crashed into an oncoming truck in Gintung Lor village, Susukan district, killing nine people and seriously injuring four others one day earlier, a suspect.
The accident took place at around 00:30 a.m. local time on Thursday.
Cirebon Traffic Police chief Adj. Comr. Edwin Affandi said the van had been speeding on its way from Cirebon to Jakarta. The van then lurched to one side when it hit an uneven section of the road, and careened into the road divider.
“The van then hit an oncoming truck,” Edwin said.
Nana Rukmana and Arya Dipa contributed to this article from Ci