Disasters & Accidents

7 dead, 4 missing in Philippine ferry fire

Manila, May 23 (EFE).- At least seven people died and another four were missing Monday after a fire broke out on a ferry in the waters of Quezon province in northeastern Philippines, the maritime rescue team told EFE.

The victims include five women and two men, according to the authorities, which have deployed a search and rescue mission to locate the missing.

The fire, which is believed to have started in the engine room, occurred early in the morning when the ferry was about 500 meters (1,640 feet) from Baluti island.

The authorities have opened an investigation to determine the causes of the incident.

The passenger boat was carrying 134 people, including 120 passengers and 10 crew members -, of whom 123 have been rescued, three of them in critical condition and another 20 with injuries.

The injured were taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

Dozens of people die in the Philippines each year in accidents at sea caused mostly by bad weather, failure to comply with safety regulations, poor vessel maintenance and overloading.

The worst accident in modern commercial navigation happened in the Philippines in 1987 when the Doña Paz ferry capsized in the waters of Leyte after colliding with an oil tanker, killing 4,341 people. EFE

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