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Philippines ferry fire kills 12, leaves at least 7 missing

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A ferry carrying about 250 passengers and crew caught fire between the Philippine islands and at least 12 people were killed and seven are still missing, a provincial governor said Thursday.

Many of those rescued had jumped off the ferry in panic at the height of the blaze and were pulled out to sea by the Coast Guard, the Navy, another ferry and local fishermen, Governor Jim Hataman said. southern island province of Basilan. The search and rescue effort continued Thursday.

The governor said most people aboard the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 were rescued overnight, but authorities were checking numbers from various rescue teams, suggesting the numbers could change.

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.

Among the dead were at least three children, apparently separated from their parents, and at least 23 passengers were injured and taken to hospital, he said.

“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.

Most of those who died drowned and were recovered at sea, officials said.

The burnt-out ferry was towed to Basilan shore and an investigation was underway, Hataman said.

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.


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