PCG: Search operations continue for 7 missing passengers in Basilan ferry blaze
MANILA, Philippines — Following the deadly vessel fire that claimed the lives of at least 29 people, search and rescue (SAR) operations are still ongoing to locate seven people who are still missing, according to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday.
However, the PCG said that it is also a retrieval operation now as well.
“The [PCG] continues its search and rescue/retrieval operations after M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 reported fire onboard while traversing the vicinity waters off Baluk-Baluk Island, Hadji Muhtamad, Basilan,” it said in a report on Facebook.
In its latest update, the PCG puts the death toll at 29 people, with 216 survivors. Witnesses said that the fire emanated from an air-conditioned cabin.
Only 11 of the casualties retrieved from the sea have been identified. The PCG said the 18 who were “burned on board the vessel” need DNA testing.
“Meanwhile, the Marine Environmental Protection Unit-BARMM conducted an oil spill assessment and yielded a negative result,” said the PCG.
The ill-fated M/V Lady Mary Joy 3 caught fire on Thursday night while on its way to Jolo, Sulu.