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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, February 21, 2018

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Several pulled from the sea after Philippines ferry sinks

240 people were pulled alive from the rough seas

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MANILA, Philippine - A Philippines ferry, carrying over 250 people was battered by fierce winds and sank in the Polillo Strait in the north-east coast of the country.

At least four people were killed and many others remained missing after the M/V Mercraft 3 sank on Thursday. 

While about 240 people were pulled alive from the rough seas, some sustaining injuries, seven people still remain missing.

The ferry, carrying Christmas holiday travellers, sank in stormy conditions and survivors said that strong winds and large waves started to lash the vessel about two hours into the trip.

Survivors also noted that bad weather had briefly delayed the ferry’s departure from Real town in Quezon province, but the weather improved and the vessel set off for Polillo island. 

Subsequently, coastguard boats, navy vessels and fishing boats rescued 240 people, with a coastguard spokesman, Armand Balilo saying that many of the passengers drifted in the rough sea. 

The 206-tonne ferry could carry 286 people and was reportedly not overcrowded.

Coastguard officials further noted that rescue efforts were halted temporarily after nightfall due to bad weather. 

Further, Juanito Diaz, who heads Quezon’s disaster response agency noted that many of those rescued were taken to a government emergency hall in Dinahican village, where officials brought clothes, food, water and medicine. 

Earlier this week, a tropical storm left more than 50 people dead and 31 others missing, due to landslides, and damaged more than 10,000 houses in the central Philippines.

Officials said that the storm drenched Quezon province, on the southern tip of northern Luzon island, but there were no storm warnings when the Mercraft 3 sailed out.

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