MANILA, Philippines – A ferry carrying more than 130 people caught fire Monday near the northeastern Philippine province, killing at least seven people and rescuing most passengers and crew members, the coast guard said.
At least seven people were missing and 23 were injured when a fire broke out on the M / V Marcraft 2 near Polilo Island near a seaport in the town of Real in Quizon province, and 23 others, including the captain, were injured and taken to hospital.
Many of the 134 passengers and crew were forced to jump into the water and others were rescued by ship in the area, Coast Guard officials said, adding that a helicopter was ready to assist in the ongoing search for the missing.
The fire started from the engine room, officials said. The fire was brought under control and the wreckage was taken ashore.
Pictures released by the Coast Guard show a fire on the ferry and thick smoke billowing from it. Survivors injured in the stretcher were taken to the waiting ambulance van when a rescuer tried to resuscitate an unconscious survivor by pressing his chest.
Frequent storms, poorly maintained boats, overcrowding, and poor enforcement of safety rules make sea accidents common in the Philippine Islands. In December 1987, the ferry Donna Paz sank after colliding with a fuel tanker, killing more than 4,300 people in the world’s worst peacetime.