Ferry Carrying Almost 300 People In Bali Catches Fire, Casualties Unknown
Indonesian rescuers evacuate hundreds of passengers from the KM Sirimau ferry off the coast of Lembata on May 19, 2022.
ATAGORAN/AFP via Getty Images

An Indonesian ferry transporting 271 people caught fire on Wednesday off the coast of Bali, and rescue efforts are underway as the number of casualties and those injured is unknown.

The Mutiara Timur I, including 236 passengers and 35 personnel, was engulfed in flames about a mile from Karangasem beach, according to the Associated Press.

“We are still focused on evacuation efforts,” Bali’s search and rescue agency head, Gede Darmada, told the AP.

Numerous naval vessels and local fishing boats were reportedly working to evacuate people to two navy ships in the rescue effort.

Videos posted to social media from those on the scene showed smoke emerging from multiple points across the City Line vessel, along with some people who had been rescued on a neighboring boat.

The fire appeared to be focused near the rear of the ferry. In another video, passengers were gathered at the front of the ship awaiting rescue.

Travel by ferry is common in the nation comprised of more than 17,000 islands. Though rare, ferry incidents have led to mass tragedies in the past.

In May, a ferry in Indonesia carrying 42 people sank in the Central Sulawesi province. In 2018, another with 200 people sank in the North Sumatra area of Indonesia, killing 167 people.

The event also comes as the leaders of the G20 are meeting in Bali, Indonesia. Heads of state for the nations, including President Joe Biden, have joined in the event.

Biden has met with Chinese President Xi Jinping and other world leaders, addressing many international political issues, including the war in Ukraine, Taiwan, and climate change.

After his three-hour meeting with Xi on Monday, Biden said that he does not believe China has imminent plans to invade Taiwan.

“I made it clear that our policy on Taiwan has not changed at all,” Biden told reporters. “It’s the same exact position we have always had. I made it clear that I want to see cross-strait issues peacefully resolved so that it never has to come to that. I’m convinced that he understood exactly what I was saying, and I understood what he was saying.”

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