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Fire in Philippine ferry kills 29, including children

Philippine Coast Guard respond to the fire incident onboard M/V LADY MARY JOY 3 at the waters off Baluk-Baluk Island, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan, Philippines, March 29, 2023. Photo: Reuters

Fire has swept through an inter-island vessel killing 29 people, including a 6-month old baby, authorities confirm.

Many of the 250 passengers jumped overboard into dark waters trying to escape the blaze,

The fire broke out on the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 at around 11 p.m. local time as it sailed southwest from Zamboanga province to Jolo, Sulu province.

Emergency workers rescued 160 passengers and 36 crew members, a Philippine Coast Guard confirmed.

11 people, including three children, drowned after jumping off the burning ship, while 18 died in the blaze on board, Governor Hadjiman Hataman Salliman told DZRH.

Investigators have yet to identify the cause of the fire that started when many passengers were asleep in air-conditioned cabins on the ferry’s lower deck.

Writing by Muzha Kucha; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu