Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - The Kupang Search and Rescue (SAR) Office, East Nusa Tenggara, deployed 51 rescuers to evacuate 167 passengers and 10 crew from the ferry "Express Cantika 77" that caught fire on Naikliu, Monday.

"The team from the Kupang Search and Rescue (SAR) Office has been deployed to help rescue the (167) passengers and 10 crew members," Head of Kupang SAR I Putu Sudayana stated here.

He said the SAR team was in the process of evacuating both passengers and crew members.

Sudayana said, according to manifest data received by his side, the number of passengers and crew on the ill-fated ship reached 177 people comprising 167 passengers and 10 crew members.

Meanwhile, the deployed SAR teams were using Rigid Inflatable Boats and the SAR Antareja state vessel.

"The rescuing process is still ongoing," Sudayana noted on Monday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the SAR team has evacuated several passengers, including a toddler and a mother, who had been adrift off the coast of Naikliu waters.

The Express Cantika 77 ferry boat got engulfed in flames in the waters of Timor Island, Kupang, East Nusa Tenggara, near Batek Island, at around 2 p.m. local time during a voyage from Kupang to Kalabahi, Alor.

The ferry, which caught fire, sailed to Naikliu, the nearest port, for rescue efforts.

KM Cantika which is one of the sea transportation modes for communities in East Nusa Tenggara, departed from Tenau Port, Kupang, at 1:30 p.m. local time on Monday.

During its voyage, the ship reportedly caught fire, according to videos shared via WhatsApp groups.

In one of the videos, some of the ferry passengers, in a state of panic, were seen already using floating devices. Some children and toddlers were carried by their parents.

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Translator: Benediktus J, Kenzu
Editor: Sri Haryati
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