At least 31 dead, including a baby, as fire breaks out on Horror Ferry while passengers sleep, forcing them to jump into the water
At least 31 people have died, including a 6-month-old baby, after a fire broke out on a passenger ferry.
Authorities are yet to identify the cause of the fire that broke out around 3 p.m. Wednesday off Basilan Island in the southern Philippines.
It was reported that many of the passengers were sleeping in air-conditioned cabins on the ferry’s lower deck when the fire broke out.
“The death toll in a fire that ripped through a ferry in southern Philippines has risen to 31,” local Gov. Jim Hataman said Thursday after more bodies were found in the burned-out debris.
“Initially there were 10 that we recovered, they drowned. And then we spotted another 18 aboard the ship in the cabin. They were totally burned,” Commodore Rejard Marfe, chief of the Coast Guard in southern Mindanao region, told Reuters.
There were conflicting figures on the number of passengers on the ferry, which was not overloaded, but the Coast Guard said 230 people, including 35 crew members, were rescued.
Marfe previously said most were asleep at the time of the fire, adding “there was chaos”.
Firefighters brought the fire under control early Thursday.
Photos shared by the Coast Guard showed the ship MV Lady Mary Joy 3 was gutted by fire.
“I thought I was dreaming but when I opened my eyes it was dark and we were surrounded by smoke,” Mina Nani, 46, told DZRH.
She said she survived by jumping off the ship and sharing a float with another passenger before they were rescued.
Search and rescue efforts continue for at least seven missing passengers.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, has a poor record when it comes to maritime safety, as ships are often overcrowded and many obsolete ships are still in service.
In May, at least seven people died in a fire on a high-speed Philippine ferry carrying 134 people.
In 1987, around 5,000 people died in the world’s worst peacetime shipping disaster, when an overloaded passenger ferry Dona Paz collided with an oil tanker off Mindoro Island, south of the capital Manila.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/7752231/31-dead-ferry-fire-breaks-out-while-passengers-sleep/ At least 31 dead, including a baby, as fire breaks out on Horror Ferry while passengers sleep, forcing them to jump into the water