Philippines Ferry Capsizes Leaving Dozens Dead As Officials Scramble To Find Survivors
On Thursday, a Philippines ferry capsized leaving dozens dead as officials worked to locate survivors among the 173 passengers and 16 crew members who were reportedly on board. According to Reuters, at least 36 people died and more were missing after the boat sank off the central Philippines. Authorities said at least 118 people were rescued by nearby boats or swam to safety to Leyte Island.
Philippine Coast Guard spokesman Armand Balilo told the Associated Press the ferry was heading from Ormoc to the Camotes Islands when it likely overturned by strong waves and winds. Survivors told the AP the ferry's bow rose above the water surface and then flipped on its side, causing the vessel to sink. CNN said the ferry, a commercial "pump boat" that's used for moving people and goods as well as for fishing, capsized just 200 meters from the shore. Officials said the rescue is ongoing.
Reuters reported that up to hundreds of people die in ferry accidents every year in the country, which is made up of 7,100 islands. Ferry boats in the Philippines are known to be in bad condition, according to Reuters, and overcrowding is a common occurrence. The Philippines ferry is just the latest to make headlines, from South Korea's Sewol disaster in 2014 to last month's Yangtze cruise ship sinking.