Ship Catches Fire, Report That 100 Missing Erroneous
MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ A two-year-old girl was killed and two people were missing after a ferry caught fire in the southern Philippines on Wednesday, the Coast Guard said.
The Coast Guard earlier said 100 people were missing after the Tandag sank off the coast of Cortes town, about 510 miles southeast of Manila.
Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Danilo Corpuz later said the report was erroneous and blamed the error on poor communications.
He said another vessel, the Surigao Del Sur, was actually involved. He said the 491-ton vessel’s engine room caught fire at about 7 p.m., causing panic among passengers who jumped off the ship.
He said the accident occured about 1.5 miles off the coast of Cortes.
He said fishing boats and Coast Guard vessels were able to rescue 145 passengers and 48 crew members before dawn Thursday.
He said the ferry left the port of Tandag on its way to the central city of Cebu, about 180 miles northwest.
Corpuz said the initial radio report to Manila by a remote Coast Guard station early Thursday indicated 100 out of 130 passengers were missing.
He said the confusion was caused by poor communications between Manila and the Coast Guard station.