Indonesia ferry blast kills one, injures 15

September 15, 2016 7:08 AM

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A foreign woman has been killed and 15 others injured, when an explosion hit a tourist boat that had just departed the Indonesian resort island of Bali, police say.

It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion in the speedboat, but police said it was not caused by a bomb.

Indonesia has a poor maritime safety record and there have been similar incidents in the past where no foul play was detected.

Earlier reports suggested an Australian had been injured on the Gili Cat 2, but the manifest did not list any Australians onboard.

Authorities said the woman killed on the boat, which was heading for the nearby holiday island of Gili Trawangan, was a foreigner but that they were verifying her identity before releasing more details.

The 15 injured passengers included nationals from Portugal, Germany, South Korea and Britain, according to preliminary information from the police.

The boat was carrying 35 passengers, all foreigners, and four crew, and had just left Padang Bai port in eastern Bali on Thursday morning when the blast occurred.

"The explosion happened five minutes after the boat departed," local police chief Sugeng Sudarso said.

Witnesses saw smoke coming from the boat when it was about 200 metres offshore.

Authorities were investigating, Mr Sudarso said, but a bomb had been ruled out as the cause.

"Based on the testimony [from passengers] and from what I saw on the scene, the explosion came from the fuel tank."

The Indonesian archipelago of more than 17,000 islands is heavily dependent on ferry services but the industry has a poor safety record and fatal accidents are common.

Last year, dozens of tourists were injured when small explosions hit a ferry crossing between Bali and the neighbouring holiday island of Lombok.

The explosions were an accident and thought to have come from the fuel tank of the ferry, which was carrying 129 passengers, most of them tourists.

However fears have also been growing in Indonesia that radicals who have headed to fight with the Islamic State (IS) group in the Middle East could encourage supporters back home to launch attacks, or may launch attacks themselves on their return.

Source: abc.net.au

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