Chinese tourists released from hospital after boat fire

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Eight Chinese tourists hospitalised after being forced to jump from a catamaran off Australia's northeast coast have been released, health authorities said on Thursday.

Eleven of the 42 passengers aboard the catamaran were taken to hospital after being told to jump from the catamaran and seek refuge in life rafters after its engine room caught alight, 10 nautical miles off a small Queensland state township on Wednesday afternoon.

Eight of the victims, Chinese tourists all aged in their 60s, were discharged on Thursday morning after suffering minor injuries including cuts and dehydration, a Bundaberg Base Hospital spokesperson told local media.

Nineteen others required treatment on shore for seasickness and hypothermia.

The 42 passengers, mostly Chinese tourists, and four crew were returning from a day trip to Lady Musgrave Island on Australia's Great Barrie Reef.

Australian authorities sent three vessels to rescue the passengers and crew, but did not return to shore for several hours due to transfer complications.

"It was terrifying for all of them, we're just thankful that everyone is accounted for and no one suffered any major injuries," Queensland Police Inspector Darren Somerville said.

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