Foreigners jump off Ha Long cruise ship during fierce fire

By Vu Ngoc Khanh, Thanh Nien News

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A cruise ship in Ha Long Bay carrying 36 foreign tourists went up in flames on Friday, forcing many to jump into the water to avoid getting burnt.
The vessel registered in Quang Ninh Province reportedly caught fire at around 11 a.m. when it was approaching a port after spending the previous night cruising around the bay.
A speed boat was quickly sent over to rescue the tourists.
All 36 passengers and a Vietnamese guide were safe. Some suffered scratches and minor injuries. The tourists came from various countries, including France, South Korea and the UK. 
The wooden ship, which was built in 2011, sank soon after the fire was put out at 11:45 a.m.
A source told Thanh Nien a gas leak in the kitchen might have caused the fire.
Fire safety has long been a concern among tourists on cruise trips in Ha Long Bay, a world-renowned destination and beloved by many foreigners. Incidents like this keep happening, even after officials reportedly stepped up inspection. 
Local authorities have recently announced plans to replace all wooden boats and ships with metal vessels in the next five years. 
 A cruise ship catches fire in Ha Long Bay at 11 a.m. on May 6. Photos: Le Trung Dung
Many tourists jump off as the fire spreads quickly.
A man urges the passengers to jump.
 The incident draws a big crowd.
Firefighters try to put out the fire.
The flames engulf the entire boat.
 The boat sinks after the fire is put out.

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