MANILA – Rescue teams of the Philippine authorities on Friday are searching for seven people missing, after a ferry carrying 251 people on board capsized Thursday on the east coast of the country, causing at least four deaths.
The Philippine Coast Guard said that they have recovered the bodies of two men and two women, while 240 other passengers were rescued by emergency services and fishermen.
The MV Mercraft 3 ferry, whose maximum capacity was 286 passengers, capsized on Thursday morning after departing from the province of Quezon en route to Polillo Island, in the central region of the Philippine archipelago.
The coastguard indicated that the accident occurred amid strong swells which, according to the head of the Council for the Reduction of Disasters of Quezon, Juanito Diaz, may have caused a hole in the hull of the ferry.
Dozens of people die in the Philippines each year in accidents at sea caused by bad weather, failure to comply with safety regulations, poor vessel maintenance and overloading.
The most serious accident in modern history of maritime navigation occurred in the Philippines in 1987, when the Dona Paz ferry capsized in Leyte waters after colliding with an oil tanker, killing over 4,300 people.