25 dead, 55 rescued after boats capsize in Philippines

National

In this photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, rescuers checks the remains of a ferry boat after it capsized due to bad weather in the waters between Guimaras and Iloilo provinces, central Philippines on Saturday Aug. 3, 2019. Several people died and 31 others were rescued when three ferry boats separately capsized in bad weather Saturday between two central Philippine island provinces, the coast guard said. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — Rescuers plucked more bodies in rough seas where three ferry boats capsized after being buffeted by fierce wind and waves off two central Philippine provinces, bringing the death toll to 25 with six missing, police said Sunday.

Regional police spokesman Joem Javier said the dead were mostly passengers of two ferries that flipped over in sudden gusts of wind and powerful waves Saturday off Guimaras and Iloilo provinces. Fifty-five other passengers and crew were rescued.

In this photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, a rescue worker carries a survivor after their ferry boat capsized due to bad weather in the waters between Guimaras and Iloilo provinces, central Philippines on Saturday Aug. 3, 2019. Several people died and 31 others were rescued when three ferry boats separately capsized in bad weather Saturday between two central Philippine island provinces, the coast guard said. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)

A third ferry, which was not carrying any passenger, also capsized in the Iloilo Strait but its four crewmen survived, Javier said.

Survivors recounted how the sky suddenly turned dark midway on their trip followed by strong wind and rain that battered their ferries.

Authorities wondered why a third ferry was allowed to sail about three hours after two other ferries overturned almost at the same time at noon in bad weather.

Forecasters have warned of heavy monsoon rains, thunderstorms and rain-triggered landslides amid a tropical depression more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) off the country’s eastern coast.

In this photo provided by the Philippine Red Cross, a rescue worker talks to a crying survivor after their ferry boat capsized due to bad weather in the waters between Guimaras and Iloilo provinces, central Philippines on Saturday Aug. 3, 2019. Several people died and 31 others were rescued when three ferry boats separately capsized in bad weather Saturday between two central Philippine island provinces, the coast guard said. (Philippine Red Cross via AP)

Classes and work were suspended in metropolitan Manila Friday and Saturday amid heavy rains and flooding, which caused intense traffic jams in low-lying areas in the capital.

About 20 typhoons and storms batter the Philippines each year, making the archipelago that lies on the Pacific typhoon and earthquake belt one of the world’s most disaster-prone countries.

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