Thiruvananthapuram: Sixteen passengers and the crew members were rescued after a houseboat caught fire at Vembanad lake near Pathiramanal Island in Alappuzha on Thursday.

The houseboat named Oceanus, with 16 tourists from Kannur district and three crew members onboard, had started its journey from Kumarakom.

Near Pathiramanal Island, the crew of another boat (number 54) owned by the Kerala State Water Transport Department (SWTD) noticed the fire on the side of Oceanus.

The passengers were soon alerted. As a precautionary measure, they jumped into the water immediately.

The fire quickly spread and engulfed the entire houseboat.

All the passengers were later rescued.

The houseboat was completely burnt.

It was later learnt that the fire had started in the kitchen of the houseboat, which went unnoticed by the crew members for a while.

(With inputs from Jaipal Sharma)