Dozens of people have been killed and a number are missing after a ferry capsized in the Philippines. The coast guard says 36 people are dead and 19 missing, while 118 have been rescued after the boat got into trouble in rough waters. At least seven rescue boats picked up survivors who had clung to the overturned hull of the Kim Nirvana, which had 173 passengers on board and was bound for Camotes island in central Cebu province.
Other survivors managed to swim to shore. The wooden outrigger ferry capsized around half a mile (1km) from port in Ormoc, according to the city’s disaster risk reduction and management office. Survivors told AP the bow of the ferry suddenly rose from the water before the vessel flipped over on one side, turning upside down and trapping passengers inside.
Mary Jane Drake, who was travelling with her mother and American husband, said the ferry was pulling slowly out of the port when it suddenly flipped to the left in strong waves and overturned. She, her mother and husband swam to safety from underneath the ferry.
She said: “No one was able to jump out because it overturned very swiftly. There was no time to jump.” Her husband Lawrence Drake, a 48-year-old retired firefighter from Rochester, New York, said he ran to one side of the boat to try to balance it but it was too late. “I jumped out of my seat and ran to the front as far as I could, and tried to lean over. I am a big guy, and tried to push the boat back over but it was way too late,” he said.
Scores, sometimes hundreds of people die every year in ferry accidents in the Philippines, an archipelago of 7,100 islands with a poor maritime safety record.