A tourist boat used for parasailing excursions caught fire in Tanjung Benoa in Bali on Friday 6th May. Fortunately, all travelers and staff aboard the boat escaped without serious injury.
The boat was offering domestic tourists a parasailing trip on the waters of Tanjung Benoa in South Kuta. The area is famous for its water sports activities. Banana boat trips, parasailing, snorkeling, and jet skiing are all on offer. The area attracts plenty of domestic travelers from all over Indonesia every year and appeals to the party groups and young families of the international tourist market.
According to reports all six of the tourists aboard the boat were wearing life jackets when the engine caught on fire. After hearing the explosion the tourists and crew all jumped into the water to escape the blaze. The boat was not far from the shore and a taxi boat was immediately sent out to rescue all aboard. The boat drivers Martinus Ngajo and Arif Rahman ensured that their guests were hauled onto the rescue boat before climbing aboard themselves.
The fire is thought to have been caused by a short circuit in the parasailing towing engine. This would explain why the fire broke out as the crew was preparing their guests for their parasailing flight. The incident happened around 9 am, and once all the group was back on land management called the local police and fire department to come and get the fire under control and bring the boat back to shore.
The Bali Apollo Water Sports management has issued an apology to the guests and has offered to pay for the medical treatment one member of the crew is receiving. Though there were no serious injuries to anyone onboard one crew member, Tanga Arsenus, has mild burns to his right hand.
Bali Apollo Water Sport is one of the biggest water sports operators in the Tanjung Benoa area, offering one of the most full activity programs in all of Bali. Tourists can experience flying with jet packs, wakeboarding, banana boat rides, and much more. For travelers seeking less adrenaline-fuelled activities, there is a glass-bottom boat ride and a tour of turtle island. Activities start at 100,000 IDR per person (6.70 USD).
It is reported that the boat owner has experienced a financial loss of around 800 million IDR (55,100 USD). He is said to have not had insurance and since the engine is burnt out, along with substantial fire damage to the rest of the vessel is essentially a write-off.
All tour operators in the area will be keen to ensure that Friday’s accident does not tarnish the public perception of the area’s operation. After two years of little to no tourism, small-scale tour providers are only just beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Though this incident does appear to be an unpredictable engine failure, health and safety standards in Indonesia are considered to be much lower than those of Australia, New Zealand, and the United States where the majority of Bali’s international visitors come from.
Travelers are always encouraged to do their own research about which tour operators have a good safety track record. They are also advised to take out comprehensive travel insurance that covers extreme sports and activities such as paragliding or jet skiing. Travelers must always highlight any safety concerns to the activity leaders as soon as they see them.
Over the Eid Al-Fitr weekend, Sanur port saw record numbers of travelers transit through the dock to Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan, a positive sign that travelers are not only returning to Bali but are keen to explore all that Indonesian island life has to offer. Boat crews and tour operators are keen to ensure that Bali’s maritime operations are running smoothly to help make travelers returning to Indonesia after the pandemic feel safe.
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