14 drown, 58 rescued after ferry capsizes in southern Philippines

MANILA (AP) — A small ferry capsized in rough waters in the southern Philippines on Saturday, leaving 14 passengers dead while 58 were rescued, a civil defense official said.

The vessel, MB Leonida II, capsized in the waters off Surigao, about 444 miles southeast of Manila, said Blanche Gobenciong of the regional Office of the Civil Defense.

It wasn’t immediately clear how many passengers were aboard, she said. Usually, such small ferries can carry about 160 people.

Gobenciong said the ferry was headed to Del Carmen town on Siargao Island from Surigao city when it ran into rough seas and capsized around 2:20 p.m. local time off the island of Hinatuan.

She said there was no storm in the area but the seasonal northeastern winds usually churn up the waters.

Gobenciong said her office was not immediately provided a copy of the passenger manifest.

The Philippine coast guard in Manila said a passing ferry, MV Sofia, rescued some of the survivors.

Boat accidents are common in the Philippines because many ferries used for travel between islands are old and poorly maintained, while enforcement of safety regulations is weak.

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