VIDEO: Seven dead, 120 rescued as fire rips through ferry

Seven people have been reported dead and a further 120 rescued, after a fire ripped through a passenger ferry in the Philippines.

The fast passenger ferry Mercraft 2 caught fire on Monday while carrying 126 passengers and eight crew from Polillo Island to Real in Quezon province, on the eastern side of Luzon island.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) reports that, in addition to seven fatalities, at least 24 people were injured. On Tuesday, PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo told GMA News that the vessel’s captain, identified as John Lerry Escareces, had been taken into custody.

The captain’s parents were both onboard the vessel when the fire broke out, according to reports. The captain’s mother is one of the fatalities, while the father has survived.

The MV Mercraft 2, which has a capacity of 186 people, left Polilio Island around 5am.

All passengers and crew members have been accounted for as of Monday afternoon, according to PCG spokesperson Commodore Armand Balilo. The vessel was later towed to Baluti Island in Barangay Cawayan, Real, Quezon.

According to the PCG official, the owner of the vessel is already working on providing initial assistance to the victims of the ship fire.

PCG’s marine casualty investigation team is today launching an investigation to establish how the fire broke out and check if hazardous materials were present. Balilo tells GMA the Department of Transportation (DOTr) wants to investigate all the angles to determine the cause of the fire. The Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), he adds, will also conduct a parallel investigation.

Comments are closed.