International: At least 36 dead after ferry capsizes in Philippines

Posted on July 2, 2015


by Adam MS, editing by Alex JS

At least 36 people died Thursday after a ferry with 189 passengers aboard capsized in the Philippines, officials said.

The Philippine Star said the M/B Kim Nirvana overturned soon after midday local time, shortly after leaving the central port of Ormoc City on the island ofLeyte. It was headed for Camotes Island on the island province of Cebu, about 27 miles to the south.

Coast guard spokesman Armand Balilo said the ferry had been lashed by strong waves. At least 118 passengers (3 of them Americans) were rescued by nearby fishing boats and coast guard personnel or swam to safety off Ormoc, the Associated Press reported.

It reported that at least now 35 people were missing. Survivors told the news agency by cellphone that the bow of the ferry suddenly rose from the water before the vessel flipped over on one side and began to sink.

Ciriaco Tolibao from Ormoc’s disaster risk reduction and management office told AFP that divers were searching for survivors. “We’re scouring the ship for more survivors who may be trapped inside the hull,” he said. “We hope to finish the rescue before dark and before it starts to rain.”