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The Bali Blog « Not So Fast: Bali-to-Lombok Gili Cat 2 'Fast Boat' Ferry Explodes Killing Tourists

Fast boat ferry operating between Gili Trawangan and Bali's Padangbai

A 'fast boat' speedboat ferry operating between Lombok's Gili Trawangan and Bali's Padangbai harbour.

© 2017 Ubud High.

Gili Cat 2 Fast Boat Ferry – Fatal Accident

Sep 20, 2016: An Austrian woman and a Spanish woman were killed, and 17 other foreigners injured, in an explosion on a 'fast boat' speedboat ferry that had just left the resort island of Bali.

Another female tourist is believed to have lost both legs below the knee during the accident.

The Gili Cat 2 fast boat had just left Padangbai harbour, in East Bali, and was heading for the popular Gili Islands when there was an explosion on board.

The boat, one of the regular fast-boat ferries that run between Bali's mainland and the Gilis, was carrying 35 passengers when the explosion happened 200 metres from the harbour.

It makes sense when you see crew refueling the boats by hand in the harbours with 20-litre jerry cans full of gasoline, or sitting over the engines with cigarettes dangling out of their mouths.

But hey, TII – This Is Indonesia – and everything you do here is at your own risk.

Previous 'fast boat' ferry accidents and explosions between Bali and Lombok's Gili Islands

The fatal Gili Cat 2 explosion isn't the only Bali-Lombok-Gili Islands 'fast boat' ferry accident over the past few years.

Wahana Ocean 3 Fast-Boat Ferry Accident from Lombok's Senggigi to Padangbai Harbour

A number of tourists received minor injuries on June 6 2015 as The Wahana Ocean 3 fastboat-ferry exploded on its way from Senggigi in Lombok to Bali's Padangbai ('Padang Bay') port. Twenty-five out of 129 passengers from Australia, France, Italy, the US, the UK and New Zealand were injured - with no fatalities.

Local water police official Khoirul Anwar said of the accident:

"We suspect that the explosion came from the fuel tank."

No way, Anwar!

Lombok-to-Padangbai Fast-Boat Ferry Accident

In October 2013 an overloaded fastboat with 80 passengers on board left Lombok for Padangbai in heavy weather.

As side-window after side-window was smashed by large waves, the crew started to dig out the life-jackets from under passengers' luggage in the boat's prow - and use them to plug the water that was gushing in.

The boat made it back to Lombok under duress. No refunds were handed out.

Semaya One Fast-Boat Ferry Accident from Gili Trawangan to Nusa Lembongan

In March 2013, the Semaya One fastboat returning from Gili Trawangan to Nusa Lembongan was hit front-on by a large wave, smashing the skipper's windscreen and concussing him.

After much bailing by the crew, the boat limped to Sanur where a new perspex windshield was installed in front of disbelieving passengers - ready for the return trip the next day.

Eka Jaya I Fast-Boat Ferry Accident from Bali's Padangbai to Gili Trawangan

In August 2010 tragedy was narrowly averted when a large wave holed the hull of the Eka Jaya I travelling from Bali's Padangbai to Gili Trawangan, sinking the fastboat.

The 34 passengers and crew floating in the water were picked up by two passing commercial speedboats, and all made it safely back to Bali - where they were shocked to discover that the port's Search and Rescue team had been totally unaware of the incident until the victims turned up wet and shivering on the docks.

Lian Sengiggi Fast-Boat Ferry Accident from Gili Trawangan to Bali's Padangbai

And in May 2009, 40 passengers and four crew had a close call with nature when the Lian Sengiggi fastboat lost power on its way from Gili Trawangan to Bali and quickly sank.

Most survivors were able to swim to the beach at Jumpai; a third group was carried away by strong currents and were finally rescued by passing fishermen off the coast at Kusamba.

Tip of the Day...

The passengers and crew of the Lian Sengiggi survived because they managed to put on their lifejackets before the ship sank, and formed three groups in the water.

In hairy times like this, you're better off with the crowd. It stops you floating off like George Clooney in Gravity.

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