(Vatican Radio) Two people are reported dead and several are missing, after a passenger ferry in the Philippines’ waters sank on Friday. Rescuers managed to save most of the passengers and crew.
The ferry sank in the early hours, about 20 km from the port of Pio Duran.
It had been taking passengers on a regular route between islands in the central Philippines, and had about 60 people aboard at the time. The full figure is unclear because one official said the operator's passenger list was incomplete.
Vessels from the Philippines coast guard and navy searched for survivors, aided by local fishermen.
One coordinator said the survival rate was high because rescue crews had responded quickly. He added that the passengers may have had had time to put on life jackets.
The ferry's captain was among those rescued. He reported the weather as having been calm, and as rescuers continued to hunt for further survivors it was unclear if they had determined the cause.
Analysts say the Philippines has had a sometimes poor maritime safety record because of shoddy ship maintenance and authorities failing to enforce safety regulations.
The Philippines was the site of the world's worst peacetime maritime disaster in 1987, when the ferry Donna Paz collided with a tanker, killing more than 4,000 people.