MANILA - At least four people died but a majority of passengers were rescued when a ferry carrying 251 passengers sank off Quezon province in heavy waves on Thursday, authorities said.
The administrator of the Claro M. Recto district hospital in Infanta, Quezon said four dead people, three men and one woman, and at least 11 survivors were brought to their hospital.
A disaster official said at least 175 have been rescued, while at least 40 were still listed as missing. However, the official said some passengers rescued were not listed in the manifesto, indicating that the boat may be carrying more passengers.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesman Armand Balilo told reporters that PCG received reports that some passengers drowned but that they had yet to confirm the report.
"We heard reports that there are casualties but we are still validating it," Balilo said, adding that the PCG was still waiting for the official report from its personnel on the ground.
"Search and rescue operations are ongoing," Balilo said, adding three rescue boats were on the way to the accident site, some 8 to 9 miles from the shoreline.
He said the ferry left a port in Real, a town Quezon province, around 9:00 a.m. (0100 GMT) and was on the way to Polillo, an island in the northeastern region of the Philippine archipelago which is separated from Luzon island by the Polilio Strait.
Balilo said they were still determining the cause of the accident. However, he said that it could be caused by the inclement weather.
He said the ferry, a fast craft, has a capacity to carry 286 passengers.
He said the PCG will conduct an investigation into the accident to find out the reason of the sinking.
A survivor Donel Jade Mendiola told local media that the ferry encountered big waves around an hour after leaving the port. The boat went out of control due to strong wind and huge current, he said.personalized silicone wristbands custom rubber bracelets custom made rubber bracelets wellies and wristbands 2017 printed wristbands