THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sixteen passengers including a six-month-old baby and three crew members had a miraculous escape after their houseboat caught fire in Vembanad lake near Pathiramanal island in Alappuzha district of Kerala on Thursday.
The houseboat, which was carrying tourists from Kannur, set out for cruise from Kumarakom. When the houseboat reached Pathiramanal island, the crew members of a boat, belonging to Kerala state water transport department, passing through the area, spotted fire and smoke on the side panels of the houseboat. On alerting the crew, the occupants of the houseboat jumped into the lake in panic. Fortunately for the passengers, the water in the area was shallow — less than five feet. Soon, crew of the transport department boat jumped into water to rescue the passengers.