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28 killed in Philippines passenger ferry fire


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A fire on an inter-island passenger ferry in the southern Philippines on Wednesday night has resulted in the death of 28 people, including a 6-month-old infant, as confirmed by the coast guard on Thursday.

The cause of the fire that broke out on the ferry, off the island of Basilan, remains unknown, as many passengers were asleep in air-conditioned cabins on the lower deck.

According to Commodore Rejard Marfe, the coast guard chief in the southern Mindanao region, 10 people died of drowning, and 18 were discovered burned inside the cabin.

Conflicting reports have emerged regarding the number of passengers on the ferry, which was not overloaded. 230 people, including 35 crew members, were rescued by the coast guard.

The blaze was brought under control early on Thursday with the help of firefighters.

The Philippines has a poor record for maritime safety due to overcrowding, ageing ships, and inadequate safety measures, with at least seven people dying in May after a fire broke out on a high-speed Philippine ferry carrying 134 people.

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