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2 tourists killed in Bali boat blast

Two foreign tourists were killed and 20 others were injured in an explosion on a speedboat, ferrying them from Bali to neighboring Lombok, on Thursday, police said. Karangasem district police chief Sugeng Sudarso said the “Gili Cat 2” fast boat had 40 people, including crew, on board. He added that all passengers have been evacuated and the injured were being treated on the island.  He said an Austrian woman and a woman of European nationality, who police initially said was German, died in the incident.

The police have not yet ascertained the cause of the explosion, but a member of the forensics team investigating the scene said initial indications are it was an accident. The officer didn’t want to be named because he is not an official police spokesman. Sudarso said the explosion occurred after smoke was seen billowing from an engine.Ferry accidents are common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago made up of thousands of islands where regulation of boat services is often lax.

Sudarso said the explosion, which occurred when the boat was about 200 meters (220 yards) from the port of departure, shattered its rear windows and upended seating. “We are still questioning the boat captain while a forensic team is examining the scene to find of cause of the explosion,” he said.

“One of the passengers died from bad injuries after being hit by boat debris that also caused injuries to others,” Sudarso said. 

A manifest showed that passengers were from several countries including Britain, France, Italy, Portugal, Ireland and Spain. Bali became a byword for tragedy in 2002 when bombings by Jemaah Islamiyah militants killed 202 people, mostly foreigners. A sustained security crackdown since then has weakened JI but counter-terrorism officials say there is still a threat of attacks from militants inspired by the Islamic State group. 

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