Manila: A ferry carrying more than 200 people caught fire in southern Philippines late Wednesday night, killing at least 10 passengers, a local official said on Thursday.
Citing an initial report, Nixon Alonzo, the chief of disaster reduction and management office in Basilan province, told a local radio that seven passengers who jumped into the sea remained missing. At least 195 passengers and 35 crew have been rescued.
He said rescuers found four bodies on the vessel, while six were brought to the shore.
“The passengers died from drowning after jumping into the water. Some suffered burns,” Alonzo said.
Alonzo said the ferry, M/V Lady Mary Joy, was headed to Zamboanga City from Jolo when it caught fire in the waters off Baluk-Baluk Island in Hadji Muhammad town of Basilan province past 10 p.m. local time on Wednesday.
The Philippine Coast Guard confirmed the incident, saying it deployed personnel and its vessel to help in the search and rescue operations but did not give details about the casualties.