Dozens rescued after Philippine ferry capsizes

Some of the 59 people plucked out of the water by the Philippine Coast Guard after a ferry capsized in rough seas near the island of Cebu yesterday, in this handout photo from the coast guard. Another three who had been on board managed to swim to sh
Some of the 59 people plucked out of the water by the Philippine Coast Guard after a ferry capsized in rough seas near the island of Cebu yesterday, in this handout photo from the coast guard. Another three who had been on board managed to swim to shore. The manifest lists 60 crew members and passengers, but a coast guard spokesman said rescue operations are continuing to ensure that everyone is accounted for. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MANILA • The Philippine authorities rescued dozens of people yesterday after a ferry sank in rough seas, but search teams were still working to confirm that all aboard were accounted for, the coast guard said.

Rescuers plucked 59 people from waters off the central island of Cebu, while another three swam to shore after the vessel took on water and capsized.

The manifest showed 60 crew members and passengers aboard, the coast guard said. However, it is not clear if the list was complete.

Manifests in the Philippines are often not a full accounting, because passengers may stow away or captains can exceed the official capacity of their vessels.

"Rescue operations are ongoing. We cannot stop until we are satisfied that everyone is safe and has been accounted for," the coast guard spokesman, Lieutenant Michael Encina, told AFP. "The boat has sunk. We haven't been able to find it," he added.

The ferry, Siargao Princess, was plying a route near Cebu when its crew radioed for help, saying the vessel was in trouble.

The Philippines, an archipelago where millions rely on rickety ferries for cheap transport between islands, has regular boat accidents.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 08, 2019, with the headline 'Dozens rescued after Philippine ferry capsizes'. Print Edition | Subscribe