Canberra: All 46 people aboard a tourist catamaran were rescued after the vessel caught fire and sank on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, police said.
A police statement said 19 of those rescued were taken to hospitals in Bundaberg and Gladstone for treatment of non-life threatening injuries after the vessel, Spirit of 1770, sank late yesterday.
Most of those on board were Chinese tourists, Nine Network television reported today.
The 23-meter catamaran was returning to the town of 1770 named after the year that British explorer James Cook landed on that stretch of the Australian coast after a day trip to Lady
Musgrave Island when it caught fire and was abandoned 30 minutes later, police said.
Passengers and crew took to life rafts after the fire started in the engine room, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.