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Dozens were killed when a tourist ferry caught fire in Indonesia

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At least 23 people were killed and 17 are missing after a tourist ferry caught fire Sunday off the coast of Indonesia. 

The ferry was traveling from a port in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta to a resort island in the Kepulauan Seribu chain when it caught fire. 

Officials said more than 230 passengers, most of which were Indonesians celebrating New Year's, were aboard at the time. 

Photos from the aftermath of the fire show rescuers searching for victims in the wreckage. 

Seply Madreta, with the local Disaster Mitigation Agency, said the fire ripped through and gutted half of the ship. 

The BBC reports that many of the passengers jumped into the sea to escape the flames. 

"Fifteen minutes after the boat set sail, people at the back of the boat started making noise," a passenger told the BBC. 


The passenger added that people began fighting for life jackets as smoke filled the cabin. 

Some passengers told local media outlets they first saw smoke coming from the ferry's engine.

In TV footage of the incident, a woman can be heard screaming “Ya Allah! Ya Allah!” or “Oh God! Oh God!” as the fire broke out. 

About 22 people were rushed to the hospital for treatment and officials found 23 bodies. 

The country's National Disaster Mitigation Agency said 10 ships are out searching for those still missing. 

The remains of the ferry were towed by to Jakarta. 

Ferry boat accidents are common in Indonesia. The BBC reports these accidents are often times due to poor safety records, overcrowding and poor maintenance.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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