Philippines ferry fire leaves 31 dead, at least 7 missing, governor says: NPR
MANILA, Philippines — A ferry carrying around 250 passengers and crew caught fire in the southern Philippines and 31 people drowned or died in the blaze and were later discovered, a provincial governor said Thursday. .
Many of those rescued had jumped from the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 in panic at the height of the blaze and were pulled out to sea by the Coast Guard, Navy, another ferry and local fishermen, the governor said Jim Hataman of the Southern Island Province. of Basilan. The search and rescue effort continued Thursday for at least seven missing passengers.
The burnt-out ferry was towed to the Basilan shore, where coastguard personnel and other authorities later discovered another 18 bodies in a budget section of the passenger cabin, Hataman said, adding that the search of the ship continued.
“These victims perished on board due to the fire,” Hataman said. The governor said an investigation was underway and the discovery suggested there were other travelers not listed on the ship’s manifest.
The ferry was en route to the town of Jolo in Sulu province from the southern port town of Zamboanga when it caught fire halfway to Basilan around midnight, he said. declared.
At least 23 passengers were injured and taken to hospital.
“Some of the passengers were roused from their sleep due to the commotion caused by the fire. Some jumped off the ship,” Hataman told The Associated Press by phone.
Marine accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago due to frequent storms, poorly maintained boats, overcrowding and uneven enforcement of safety regulations, especially in remote provinces.
In December 1987, the Dona Paz ferry sank after colliding with an oil tanker, killing more than 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.