At least 10 people were killed and 230 others rescued after the ferry they were travelling in caught fire in the Philippines, authorities said on Thursday.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commodore Marco Antonio Gine said the M/V Lady Mary Joy 3, a passenger and cargo vessel, was headed to Jolo from Zamboanga City when it caught fire in the waters off Baluk-Baluk Island at around 10 p.m. on Wednesday, REPORTSxINHUA NEWS AGENCY.
Nixon Alonzo, the chief of disaster reduction and management office in Basilan province, told a local radio that authorities were verifying reports that seven more passengers who jumped into the sea are missing.
At least 195 passengers and 35 crew members have been rescued. He said rescuers found four bodies on the vessel, while six were recovered from the sea. "The passengers died from drowning after jumping into the water.
Some suffered burns," Alonzo said. Hadji Muhtamad Mayor Arsina Kahing-Nanoh posted pictures of the vessel on the beach of Baluk-Baluk Island and some of the rescued passengers on social media.
Authorities are looking into the cause of the fire, which reportedly started in an air-conditioned cabin in the vessel. Most of the passengers were asleep when the fire broke out. The PCG said it deployed personnel and its vessel to help in the search and rescue operation, which continues at the time.