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People jump into the sea to escape a ferry fire raging in the Gulf of Thailand. All 108 people on board are safe

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BANGKOK (AP) — Panicked passengers jumped overboard to escape a massive ferry fire in the Gulf of Thailand early Thursday, and all 108 people on board were safe.

The overnight ferry from Surat Thani province was about to arrive at Koh Tao, a popular tourist destination off the coast of Thailand, when one of the passengers suddenly heard a crackling sound and the smell of smoke.

Maitree Promjampa said she saw smoke and fire less than five minutes later, and that’s when people started screaming and raising the alarm.

“We could barely get the life jackets in time,” he told The Associated Press. “It was chaotic. People were crying… I too had tears in my eyes.

Of the 108 people on board the ferry, 97 were passengers, Surat Thani officials said on Facebook. The provincial public relations department announced that everyone had been rescued without any casualties.

Videos showed people rushing out of the ferry cabin while donning life jackets, as thick black smoke swept across the ferry. It was then ravaged by fire.

Maitree, a Surat Thani resident who often travels to Koh Tao for work, said several boats came to their rescue about 20 minutes after they called for help, but they were unable to get there. approach the ferry for fear of explosions. He explained that people had to jump into the sea to be rescued. Videos showed the ferry also carried several vehicles.

“Everyone had to help themselves,” he said.

Authorities said the fire has since been brought under control. It started in the engine, but the cause is under investigation. The ferry did not sink.

The ferry from Surat Thani to Koh Tao carries both commuters and tourists. Koh Tao is approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) from the coast.

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