Bali speedboat explosion kills 2, injures 18
Indonesia has a poor maritime safety record and there have been similar incidents in the past where no foul play was detected.? Photograph: (Reuters)
An explosion hit a ferry today between the Indonesian resort islands of Bali and Lombok killing two foreigners and injuring 18 other tourists, AFP reported.
The speedboat, which was carrying about 30 people including four crew members, had just left Padang Bai port in eastern Bali when the blast was reported.
An Austrian woman was killed along with a second female foreigner, whose nationality was still being verified. Two German citizens were injured while nationals from Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Spain were also among the passengers.
"The explosion happened five minutes after the boat departed," local police chief Sugeng Sudarso told AFP, adding the vessel had been about 200 metres (yards) from the port.Bali and neighbouring Lombok are two of Indonesia's most popular holiday destination.
A still picture from Reuters showed police investigating at the port in Padangbai. The boat reportedly had German, British, French Portuguese and Italian nationals on board.
While Reuters said that the cause of the incident was being investigated as the injured people were rushed to a local hospital, AFP quoted police saying that the blast appeared to have happened in the fuel tank, adding it was not caused by a bomb.
It is pertinent to mention that Indonesia has a poor maritime safety record and there have been similar incidents in the past where no foul play was detected.
The archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is heavily dependent on ferry services yet the poor safety record and frequent accidents raise concerns.
Last year, dozens of tourists were injured when small explosions hit a ferry crossing between Bali and the neighbouring holiday island of Lombok, according to AFP.
(WION with inputs from agencies)