Video: Philippine Ferry Boat Capsizes in High Winds, 26 Drowned
On Thursday, the Philippine Coast Guard launched a rescue operation after a ferry boat sank off Binangonan, Luzon, with at least 26 fatalities.
At about 1910 hours on Thursday, the wooden ferry Princess Aya capsized and went down in Laguna de Bay, a large lake southeast of Manila. Stormy weather and heavy rain from Typhoon Doksuri has been battering Luzon since the beginning of the week, and may have played a role in the casualty. A no-sail order on the lake had just been lifted before the vessel left the dock for a short trip to a nearby island.
The Princess Aya encountered severe winds just after leaving the wharf at Bingangonan, and the passengers rushed to one side in panic, officials told local media. The outrigger broke and the boat quickly capsized just 50 yards off the shore.
The early indications suggest that it was overloaded, a common practice in Southeast Asia. On inspection of the boat's records, the Philippine Coast Guard found that only 22 passengers were declared, and the maximum capacity of the boat was listed as just 42 people. 40 survived the sinking and 26 deceased passengers have been recovered.
The search for survivors and remains of the deceased was suspended overnight, but resumed at 0600 local time on Friday. The number of confirmed fatalities could rise as the search effort continues.
The Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine National Police are investigating the cause of the sinking. The vessel's captain has been taken into custody, and he asserts that he was not aware that the boat was overloaded, according to GMA News.
The Philippines' Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) announced Friday that it has suspended the operating permit of the vessel operator.