At least seven passengers have died after a high-speed Philippine ferry carrying 134 passengers got wrecked by fire, just before reaching the port of Real in Quezon province, about 60 kilometers east of the capital, Manila.
The Philippine ferry was said to have left Polilio Island at 5:00 a.m on Sunday, which when things was going wrong, the coast guard made a distress call at 6:30 a.m. while it was on fire.
Pictures shared by the coast guard was said to have shown people in life vests floating at sea awaiting rescue, while some were taken to safety by a cargo ship in the area, while fire and thick smoke engulfed the two-storey passenger vessel.
Confirming the incident, the coast guard said on Monday that amongst the 138 victims of the ferry which was wrecked by fire, out of the seven passengers who had died, five of them were women while two were men.
The coast guard added that 120 passengers from the ferry have been rescued, and 23 of them are being treated for the injuries sustained in the fire.
It is yet to be disclosed what really caused the ferry fire, but the Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, has record for poor maritime safety, with vessels often overcrowded and many vessels ageing.
Meanwhile, in 1987, about 5,000 people had 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.