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Last Updated: Friday, 23 February 2007, 05:43 GMT
Search for Jakarta ferry victims
Ferry on fire - 22/2/07
Indonesia has experienced several transport accidents recently
The Indonesian navy is still searching for survivors of Thursday's ferry fire in the Bay of Jakarta, which killed at least 16 people.

Another 17 people are known to be missing, but there are fears that more people than previously thought could have been on board the ill-fated ship.

The Levina I was 80km (50 miles) from Jakarta's port when the fire broke out.

The blaze is the latest in a string of deadly incidents in Indonesia, leading to concern over its safety record.

Five navy ships are still continuing the search for survivors, according to Indonesian news agencies.

Based on data from the ship's log, 16 people dead and 17 remain missing.

But officials fear there could have been many more than the 307 registered passengers, as Indonesian ferries regularly have stowaways on board, trying to avoid paying fares.

"It is common for people who have no ticket to force their way on board using whatever way they find," Indonesian navy spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Hendra Pakan told Reuters news agency.

Indonesia's public perils

Many of the survivors from the fire hurled themselves off the blazing vessel into the sea, to escape the flames.

RECENT INDONESIAN DISASTERS
map
Ferry fire 22 Feb 2007: At least seven die as Bangka ferry catches fire
Train crash 16 Jan 2007: At least five die as train falls from bridge in Java
Landslide 12 Jan 2007: Landslide kills at least 16 on island of Sangihe
Plane crash 1 Jan 2007: Passenger plane carrying 102 people crashes in sea west of Sulawesi island
Ferry sinks 30 Dec 2006: More than 350 lost as ferry sinks between Borneo and Java
Stampede 20 Dec 2006: 10 killed, dozens injured in a stampede at Java pop concert
Earthquake 18 Dec 2006: Seven killed, about 100 injured in a quake in Sumatra

Yas Rijal, 33, was with his wife and son on the upper deck when the fire broke out.

"Suddenly flames burst from the lower deck. The crew ordered us to put on yellow life vests and we jumped," he told the Associated Press news agency.

The accident is the most deadly sea disaster since a passenger ferry carrying around 600 people capsized in late December off Java island, leaving more than half the passengers feared dead.

Indonesia, an archipelago of thousands of islands, relies on ferries to provide a cheap and extensive passenger network.

But many vessels are badly maintained, and there have been a number of recent accidents.

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has recently formed a team to look into transport safety.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Smoke pouring from the blazing ferry



SEE ALSO
Indonesia's public transport perils
18 Jan 07 |  Asia-Pacific
Country profile: Indonesia
23 Jan 07 |  Country profiles

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