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Ferry fire kills more than 20 near Indonesian capital Jakarta

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Ferry fire kills more than 20 near Indonesian capital Jakarta
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A fire on board a ferry in Indonesia has killed at least 23 people.

The Zahro Express was carrying nearly 250 people from Jakarta to islands north of the capital when the fire took hold shortly after it left Muara Angke port, according to the city’s search and rescue agency.

Another 17 people were reported to be missing.

Of more than 200 people rescued, over 30 survivors were treated at a hospital in Jakarta.

“Thick smoke suddenly emerged, blanketing the cabin. All passengers panicked and ran up to the deck to throw floats into the water. In a split second, the fire became bigger, it was coming from where the fuel is stored,” said one young man who had been on board.

As rescuers and investigators combed the ferry which was towed back to port, police said they believed the cause was a short circuit on a power generator.

Sea accidents are frequent in Indonesia, where travelling by ferry is common between the country’s many islands.

Overcrowding is also a problem on boats which often have too few life jackets on board.