At least 31 people have died in the southern Philippines when a ferry carrying 250 people caught fire. Some of the victims were burned, some drowned. According to the AP agency, this was announced today by the local akim.
Many of those rescued jumped from the ferry into the sea in a panic and were later pulled out of the water by the Coast Guard, the Navy, another ferry, or local fishermen. Rescue efforts are still ongoing, with at least seven passengers still missing.
The charred ferry was towed to the shore of Basilan Island, and the coast guard found 18 bodies on board. They are still searching the ship. At the same time, according to the governor, the fact of the accident is being investigated.
The ferry departed from the port of Zamboanga and headed to the city of Jolo in the province of Sulu. About halfway through, around midnight local time, it caught fire. At least 23 passengers were injured and taken to hospitals.
Boat accidents are common in the Philippines, which is made up of over 7,000 islands. The reason for this is frequent storms, poor maintenance of ships, overcrowding and non-compliance with safety regulations, especially in remote provinces.. The most tragic civilian maritime disaster occurred in 1987. In December of the same year, the ferry Dona Paz collided with the tanker Victor in the Tablas Strait, east of the Philippine island of Mindoro, and caught fire. More than 4300 people died.