People jump into the sea to escape a ferry fire in the Gulf of Thailand. All 108 people on board are safe – Top Stories (Trending Perfect)


BANGKOK (AFP) – Terrified passengers jumped into the sea to escape a fire on a ferry in the Gulf of Thailand early Thursday, and all 108 people on board were rescued.

The night ferry from Surat Thani Province was about to arrive at Koh Tao, a popular tourist destination off the Thai coast, when a passenger suddenly heard a crackling sound and smelled smoke.

Maitri Promjamba said he saw smoke and fire rising less than five minutes later, and that's when people started screaming and raising the alarm.

“We barely managed to get life jackets in time,” he told the Associated Press. It was chaotic. People were crying… and I cried too.”

Of the 108 people on board the ferry, 97 were passengers, Surat Thani officials said on Facebook. The governorate's Public Relations Department published that everyone was rescued without any injuries.

Video clips showed people rushing to get out of the ferry cabin wearing life jackets, while thick black smoke engulfed the ferry. It later caught fire.

Maitri, a Surat Thani resident who frequently travels to Koh Tao for work, said several boats came to their rescue about 20 minutes after they called for help, but the boats were unable to approach the ferry for fear of explosions. He added that people had to jump into the sea to be rescued. Videos showed that the ferry was also carrying several vehicles.

“Everyone had to help themselves,” he added.

The fire has since been brought under control, officials said. It started in the engine, but the cause is under investigation. The ferry did not sink.

The ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao carries passengers and tourists alike. Koh Tao is located about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the coast.



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