All the 300-strong passengers aboard a boat which caught alight toward midnight Monday in southern China have been evacuated safely, officials with the Ministry of Communications said in Beijing Tuesday.
The passenger boat, which was traveling from Haikou City to Shenzhen City in south China, caught alight around the mouth of the Pearl River to the sea.
The fire broke out at 11:55 pm Monday from the automobile storage cabin of the "Mount. Wutong", which is a passenger boat belonging to a shipping company in Shenzhen.
Upon receiving the emergency alarm, the rescue and salvage department of the Ministry of Communications immediately ordered two boats in nearby waters to rush to the scene, according to Song Jiahui, director of the department.
By 7:13 am Tuesday, more than 350 passengers on the "Mount. Wutong" boat had been transferred to two other boats and then carried to a nearby harbor, Song said, adding that the cause of the fire was under investigation.
(Xinhua News Agency December 24, 2002)