According to the authorities, seven people are still missing after the devastating fire on a passenger ferry in the south of the Philippines. The number of dead had risen to 29 by Friday morning (local time), a spokesman for the coast guard told the German Press Agency. The "MV Lady Mary Joy 3" caught fire late Wednesday evening near Baluk-Baluk Island, around 880 kilometers south of the capital Manila. Eleven victims jumped into the water in panic and drowned, 18 bodies were recovered on the burned-out ship, it said.
On board were 252 people, including 205 passengers. 216 people survived the accident. Emergency services were looking for the missing persons in the entire area, it said. An investigative team was on its way to the island to investigate the cause of the fire. Survivors said the flames emanated from cabins with air conditioning.
Shipping is part of everyday life in the Philippines. The archipelago consists of more than 7000 islands. Accidents are common due to inadequate safety standards and overcrowding. The worst peacetime shipping disaster occurred in the Southeast Asian country in 1987, when a ferry collided with a tanker. More than 4000 people lost their lives at that time.