(8/19/2013) DenPost reports that 10 passengers on a small inter-island boats suffered injuries when their wooden vessel the Ocean Star caught fire on Thursday, August 15, 2013.
6 of the 10 people suffering injuries required hospitalization at the Sanglah General Hospital for burn injuries.
The fire occurred 15 minutes after boat carrying 32 passengers and 3 crew departed the port of Padang Bai at 9:30 a.m. destined for Gili Trawangan, near Lombok.
Reports say that the boat driven by four outboard motors suddenly caught fire with the flames quickly spreading to fuel tanks despite efforts by crew members to fight the fire with hand-held fire extinguishers.
The fire’s spread to the gas tank precipitated an explosion of sufficient force to blow out the windows of the boat and cause injuries to several passengers.
The fire and explosion alerted bystanders at the port of Padang Bai. A sister-ship, the Ocean Star III was dispatched and quickly came along side the damaged vessel to evacuate passengers and crew.
Injured passengers were sent to the Penta Media Clinic in Manggis, with six referred for further serious burn treatment to the Denpasar Sanglah General Hospital.
Those sent to Sanglah’s Burn Center were American Suzana Ruth (49); Italians Ilaria Cervelli (28), Liugi Santone and Leonardo Colotta (23); and two crew members Komang Wibawa (28) and I Wayan Dadi (16) both from Padang Bai. Ilaria Cervelli is reported to have suffered the most severe burns and is receiving intensive care at the hospital.
The Director of the Penta Medika Clinic, Putu Ardana, confirmed that two of the six victims suffered burns over 45% of their bodies, with the remaining four suffering burns covering 10-15% of their body area.
The four patients being treated at the Manggis Clinic are a Turkish national Ibrahim Turgut (33); Australian Thomas Wanstall (33); Italian Marte Tatola (29) and one Indonesian crew member Kadek Sujana (39).
The badly burnt hull of the ship has been towed to shore.
The boat’s captain, I Komang Murdiana (35) ,has been interviewed by police in Karangasem who believe the fire was due to a short circuit.
Despite pictures in the local press showing large sections of the hull destroyed by fire and the continuing hospitalization of passengers, a member of the ship’s management, who refused to be named, insistently told the press: “The ship only suffered a small fire. The same is true of the passengers; no body was badly injured. There are only light abrasions.”