One-year-old girl dead in Filipino ferry fire

A one-year-old girl and a 60-year-old man were killed when a packed ferry caught fire in the Philippines last night (August 27).

The vessel was carrying 137 passengers and 40 crew members when it suffered a blaze in the engine room shortly after it left the Samboan Port in Cebu City at around 6 p.m.

Initial reports stated that the fire broke out at around 11:30 pm on board the M/V Lite Ferry 16 as it travelled toward Dapitan City.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Operations Center reported two fatalities.

They named them as one-year-old girl Chloe Labisig and Danilo Gomez, 60, who was believed to be travelling together at the time.

Officials said this morning (28/08) that 110 passengers have been rescued while 23 were still missing.

The rescued passengers were taken to hospitals in Dapitan and Dipolog City.

Lieutenant Junior Grade Cherry Rose Manaay, commander of the Philippine Coast Guard Station-Zamboanga del Norte said they received a distress call from the captain asking for help as his ship caught fire at Tag-ulo point in Dapitan.

She said: "We immediately called MV Fast Cat, which had just left the Port of Dapitan to rescue MV Lite Ferry 16. MV Danica Joy was also sent to help in the rescue."

Some of the fishermen in the area also joined the rescue operation but were driven back by big waves.

The cause of the fire is still unknown.