Hundreds rescued from blazing ferry

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 17 November, 2004, 12:00am

More than 300 people were rescued yesterday from a ferry that caught fire off the northeastern city of Dalian .

'Sixteen people, slightly injured, were admitted to hospital,' said Wang Renmin, party secretary of the Dalian Maritime Safety Administration.

He said the 291 passengers and 49 crew aboard the Liao Hai ferry, owned by Dalian Marine Shipping, had been rescued and the cause of the fire was under investigation.

The ferry left Yantai in Shandong province at 8am and was travelling to Dalian when it caught fire at 1.30pm. Passengers and crew were ordered to abandon ship after attempts to put out the blaze failed.

'The ferry was nearly burned out but it didn't sink,' Mr Wang said. 'It has been towed away from the main approach to the port in Dalian.'

About a dozen vessels, including fishing boats and navy ships, joined the rescue effort, with the first ship arriving at the scene within 10 minutes of the fire being reported. A rescue helicopter was also deployed.

Earlier media reports said two crew members were missing, but they were also rescued.

Five years ago, the Dashun ferry sank in stormy seas off Yantai, killing 282 people on board.