December 22, 2017 / 2:43 AM / 2 months ago

Philippines' coast guard rescues 252 passengers from capsized ferry

REAL, Philippines, Dec 22 (Reuters) - The Philippines’ coast guard said on Friday it had rescued 252 passengers and crew, including an Australian and his Filipino wife, and recovered five dead people from a ferry that capsized east of the capital Manila.

A Philippine vessel capsized on Thursday because of bad weather, highlighting frequent boat accidents in the Southeast Asian nation that is composed of more than 7,000 islands.

The Philippine Coast Guard has confirmed five deaths while 252 passengers including an Australian and his Filipina wife, were rescued, said spokesman Captain Armand Balilo.

“All the passengers and crew are accounted for but as I have said we will re-evaluate based on the claims of the families of the missing passengers,” Balilo told Reuters. The vessel was carrying 257 passengers and crew.

The boat left the port around 9 a.m. and capsized an hour later due to strong winds and giant waves. A survivor said the passengers panicked when the boat started to take in water and went to one side, causing the ferry to tilt and capsize.

Reporting by Erik de Castro and Ronn Bautista; Writing by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Michael Perry

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