Status: 03/30/2023 11:22 a.m
A fire has broken out on a Philippine ferry, surprising passengers as they sleep. Many jumped overboard in panic. At least 31 people could not save themselves.
At least 31 people have died in a fire on a ferry in southern Philippines. Authorities said 195 passengers and 35 crew members were rescued.
The actual number of victims could be even higher, as apparently there were also people on board who were not registered as crew members or passengers. Basilan Province Governor Jim Salliman told AFP that several people were burned.
More than 200 passengers and crew were rescued from the ferry “Lady Mary Joy 3”.
Surprised by fire in sleep
According to civil protection, the fire on the ferry “Lady Mary Joy 3” broke out late in the evening for reasons that are still unclear. This happened near Baluk-Baluk Island about 880 kilometers south of the capital Manila. The ship was en route from Mindanao Island to Jolo Island.
Rejard Marfe of the Philippine Coast Guard said survivors reported being caught by the fire while they were sleeping and panicking.
Some passengers jumped into the sea to avoid the flames, said Nixon Alonzo, chief of disaster management for the region. “Some of the dead were found on the ship, others drowned.”
For the Philippines, with its more than 7000 islands, ships are one of the main means of transport. Since the ferries are often poorly maintained and overcrowded, and safety regulations are insufficiently controlled, fatal accidents occur again and again.