Philippines Ferry Inferno Kills 31 Passengers, 230 Rescued, 7 Missing
Authorities in the Philippines reported on Thursday that at least 31 people died and 230 were rescued after a fire engulfed a ferry in the southern Philippines.
According to the Manila Times, a fire broke out on a ferry in the southern Philippines and raged for eight hours, killing at least 31 of the approximately 250 passengers and crew.
Many more than 200 people who survived the fire jumped off the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 and were rescued from the dark sea by the coast guard, navy, a nearby ferry, and local fishermen, according to Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman. He said rescuers were still looking for at least seven missing people on Thursday.
The burned ferry was towed to Basilan’s shoreline, where the bodies of 18 of the 31 victims were discovered in a budget section of the passenger cabin, according to Hataman.
“These victims died on board due to the fire,” Hataman said over the phone. He speculated that more people not on the manifest may have been on the ferry.
On the other hand, the ferry’s captain told coast guard officials that he attempted to run the burning ferry aground on the nearest shore so that more people could survive or be rescued, according to regional coast guard commander Rejard Marfe. He estimated that the fire raged for about eight hours.
The ferry was traveling to Jolo town in Sulu province from the southern port city of Zamboanga when it caught fire near midnight off the coast of Basilan, according to Hataman. At least 23 passengers were injured and hospitalized.
“Due to the commotion caused by the fire, some passengers were roused from their sleep.” “Some people jumped off the ship,” Hataman explained.
According to Marfe, the steel-hulled ferry could accommodate up to 430 passengers and was not overcrowded. According to the manifest, the plane carried 205 passengers and a 35-person crew. In addition, for their protection, it had a security contingent consisting of four coast guard marshals and an unspecified number of soldiers who were not listed on the manifest, according to Marfe.
Officials are investigating whether the 33-year-old ferry was seaworthy, if passengers weren’t on the manifest, and whether the crew properly guided passengers to safety.
Because of frequent storms, poorly maintained vessels, overcrowding, and sporadic enforcement of safety regulations, sea accidents are common in the Philippines, particularly in remote provinces.
The ferry Dona Paz sank in December 1987 after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing over 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime maritime disaster.
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