5 killed after Indonesia boat carrying nearly 200 people catches fire

JAKARTA (AFP) - At least five people were killed when a boat carrying nearly 200 people caught fire in Indonesia, rescuers said Saturday (May 20).

The vessel caught fire on Friday afternoon in the waters off the archipelago's main Java island, prompting the captain to order people to abandon the boat, the national disaster management agency said.

The agency said the fire might have caused by a short circuit in one of the trucks carried on board.

Rescuers have evacuated 141 people and recovered five bodies in the incident, the local chief of the search and rescue agency, Mochammad Arifin, told AFP.

Authorities were checking the manifest to determine whether anyone else was missing, Arifin said.

Boat accidents are common in Indonesia, a vast network of islands that relies heavily on water transport.

In January, 23 Indonesian tourists were killed when a massive fire erupted in a boat carrying hundreds of people to an island north of Jakarta to celebrate the New Year.