7 dead as Sulu-bound boat catches fire off Basilan
ZAMBOANGA CITY — Seven bodies were fished out of the waters off Baluk-Baluk island of Hadji Muhtamad town, Basilan Gov. Jim Hataman-Salliman said on Thursday.
The fatalities were passengers of the boat M/V Lady Mary Joy that caught fire around 11 p.m. on Wednesday as it sailed from Zamboanga City to Jolo, Sulu.
Salliman said three of the seven were children.
Salliman added that 67 more were rescued at dawn, bringing to 297 the number of survivors so far.
Some 195 were rescued from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m., he added. Of the 297, 35 were crew members.
“We were breaking our fast when our people in Baluk-Baluk called informing us there was a boat on fire. We immediately responded and proceeded to the area,” Hadji Muhtamad Mayor Arsina Nanoh told the Inquirer by phone.
She said among the rescued passengers were soldiers on their way to report for duty in Sulu.
The Philippine Coast Guard said the boat, owned by Aleson Shipping Lines, left the Zamboanga port at 9 p.m. on Wednesday with 205 passengers indicated in its manifest.
Nanoh immediately noted the disparity in the manifest and the number of people they rescued.
“Apart from trying to account for the number of people, we also worry about oil spill (as) the affected area is a major fishing ground of the town. We were assured last night by the Philippine Coast Guard that they will do their best to clean our waters,” Nanoh added.
Apart from Hadji Muhtamad, disaster responders from Isabela City, Basilan provincial government, the coast guard, the Navy, police, and residents helped to search and rescue survivors.
Inquirer on Twitter: “RT @InqNational: LOOK: Three confirmed dead, 195 …
Crew, passengers rescued from stalled boat off Basilan | Inquirer News
Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of Cebudailynews. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.