June 25, 2024

The Insider News

Direct from the source

Dozens killed in Basilan ship fire

By Justine Rich Talusan

AT least 31 people were killed after a fire razed a passenger ferry off the coast of Basilan province on Wednesday night, authorities said.

As of yesterday, the fatalities included at least six children, one of them a 6-month-old baby, according to Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Salliman.

More than 200 passengers and crewmen of the ill-fated boat were rescued.

A report from the Philippine Coast Guard and the Basilan provincial government said that  the M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 was carrying more than 200 passengers when it was hit by fire off Maluk-Maluk Island in Hadji Muhtamad municipality  past 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Hataman-Salliman said that as of 7 a.m. yesterday, rescuers are still searching for more people on board who were reported missing as a result of the fire.

Some of the victims jumped overboard and drowned while others were found dead aboard the vessel.

Local police and Coast Guard personnel, joined by civilian and local government volunteers, were still conducting search, rescue and retrieval operations in the area as of press time.

An investigation into what caused the fire is ongoing.