THE FIRE on a fast ferry that killed seven passengers and injured 24 others on Wednesday started at the vessel’s engine room, according to the Philippine Coast Guard.
After the search and rescue operations that was concluded by around noon, the coast guard reported that five women and two men were confirmed to have died while 127 were rescued, including 24 who were injured.
The high-speed vessel marked MV MERCRAFT 2 had 126 passengers and eight crew members on board.
Two roll-on, roll-off vessels and four motorized bancas that were in the vicinity of the incident assisted in the rescue operations, the coast guard said.
The passenger ferry left Polillo Island at around 5 a.m. bound for Real, Quezon on mainland Luzon, about 100 kilometers east of the capital Manila.
The coast guard said they received a distress signal from the vessel at around 6:30 a.m., citing a fire onboard.
Photos posted by the Philippine Coast Guard on its social media pages showed the fastcraft engulfed in fire.
The fire was put under control at around 9:33 a.m. and the vessel had been towed to Baluti Island in Real, Quezon.
In December 2017, records from the Philippine Coast Guard show that an MV MERCRAFT 3 vessel sunk in the same water channel, killing four while 166 were rescued and seven remained missing.— MSJ