A ferry fire in the north eastern province of the Philippines has killed at least 7 people and injured more than 20. Reports said there were more than 130 passengers on board M/V Mercraft 2, which was travelling from Polillo island to the Quezon province.
According to the coast guard, the fire started in the engine room when the ferry was nearing the seaport of the town of Real, in Quezon and quickly intensified.
At least 134 passengers and crew members were forced to jump as the fire escalated. The distress call alerted the vessels nearby about the situation, these helped in the immediate evacuation of at least 103 passengers, 23 of them were severely injured and transported to a nearby hospital, as per the Associated Press.
With 7 passengers missing, the coast guard also stated that a helicopter was on stand-by to assist in their search. The wreckage was deposited on the shore of Real and through examination of the accident was conducted by the authorities.
Pictures released of the accident by the coast guard showed fire and dark smoke nearly consuming the entire ferry.
Such an accident in the Philippine archipelago is referred to as a common occurrence because the region is susceptible to hurricanes. More contributing factors are the poorly maintained boats and overcrowding in addition to improper implementation of safety protocols.