Disasters & Accidents

2 missing, 85 rescued after boat catches fire in Philippines

Manila, Aug 27 (EFE).- Rescuers Saturday searched for two missing passengers hours after a boat caught fire off the Batangas port in the Philippines with 87 people on board.

Some 85 people were rescued during the search operation, the Philippine Coast Guard said.

The coast guard said the MV Asia Philippines ferry caught fire about a nautical mile southwest of the port in Batangas province on Friday night.

Of the 49 passengers and 38 crew listed aboard the vessel, only two remain missing, said the coast guard.

A coast guard spokesperson said the rescuers were checking that the two missing passengers might have been rescued and immediately went home before documentation.

The authorities are looking into the possibility that their names might have been repeated on the list.

The vessel, operated by the Starlite Ferries company, was hit by fire as it was about to dock at Batangas port.

Many passengers jumped into the water as flames spread rapidly amid strong winds.

According to the coast guard, at least one person, a 43-year-old woman, suffered injuries in the accident.

She was admitted to a hospital but her health status is unknown.

Preliminary investigations indicated that the 16 rolling loads on board were not damaged and that “there were no traces of oil spills” around the ship.

The vessel had some 16,000 liters of diesel stored in the fuel tank.

The fire was brought under control about three hours later and the causes remain uncertain.

A joint team from the Coast Guard, Fire Protection Bureau, Philippine National Police, and Special Operations Unit would investigate the incident, said the statement.

Maritime accidents are common in the Philippine archipelago due to frequent storms, the poor conditions of ships, and the violation of safety regulations.

Storm Ma On left a trail of destruction in the Philippines this week after making landfall on Tuesday.

The storm carried 1,800-km-per-hour winds, causing the death of at least three people.

The authorities suspended the classes and other services in the country. EFE


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