Five dead in ferry fire in southern Philippines

Photo: Philippine Coast Guard

Five people were killed while a yet undetermined number are unaccounted for after a passenger ferry caught fire and ran aground off Basilan province in the southern Philippines on Wednesday, March 29.

The ferry Lady Mary Joy 3 was underway off Basilan’s Baluk-Baluk Island and en route to Sulu province when a blaze ignited on board at around 22:40 local time on Wednesday.

The Philippine Coast Guard, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, and other local agencies later despatched vessels with embarked search and rescue (SAR) teams to render assistance.

The SAR teams recovered the bodies of five deceased passengers at the scene while a local official confirmed that a number of survivors suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

One of the survivors recounted that they heard explosions just before the ferry ran aground and again immediately afterwards. However, no details have yet been provided as to which areas on the vessel were affected by the blasts and the resulting fire.

Authorities are monitoring the surrounding waters for any oil spill as SAR operations are still ongoing in an attempt to locate any of the missing passengers.

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