Philippines: 31 dead, 7 missing after fire on ferry

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Firefighters fight to put out the fire in the Manila residential area. AFP

31 dead, 7 missing after Philippine ferry fire

A ferry in the southern Philippines caught fire, causing at least 31 deaths, 14 injuries, and seven missing; 230 were rescued, authorities said on Thursday (March 30).

The bodies were discovered during an ongoing search of the ship inside an air-conditioned cabin.

When the fire started late on Wednesday (March 29), the Lady Mary Joy 3 was traveling from Zamboanga City on the island of Mindanao to Jolo Island in the province of Sulu, according to disaster officer Nixon Alonzo. As a result, people jumped overboard.

The Philippine Coast Guard and fisherman helped save 195 passengers and 35 crew members after the ferry caught fire off Baluk-Baluk Island in the province of Basilan.

People were asleep when the fire broke out. The captain intentionally ran the ship aground as the fire spread so that more people may survive because it would be simpler for them to swim to shore.

Because more passengers were on board than the 205 stated in the ship’s manifest, more persons might still be missing.

The injured received burn treatment in Zamboanga and Basilan before being transported with the survivors. It was unclear how the fire began as of the time of writing.

Inefficient maritime transportation plagues the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, with its poorly managed boats prone to overcrowding and accidents. KD/Expat Media

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