More than 20 dead, six missing as boat capsizes in Philippine lake | Climate News


At least 23 people die after a wind-tossed passenger boat overturns in Laguna Lake, near the capital, Manila.

A small passenger boat has capsized in a lake close to the Philippine capital, killing at least 23 people on board and leaving six missing, according to rescuers.

The accident happened in the early afternoon on Thursday at Laguna Lake, near Manila, hours after Typhoon Doksuri had swept out of the northern Philippines.

The wooden boat “encountered strong winds prompting all passengers to panic and [go] to the port [left] side”, a coastguard statement said on Thursday.

“The boat had clearance to sail. There was no more storm in the area,” coastguard spokesman Rear Admiral Armando Balilo told reporters.

The passenger boat was making its regular run from the municipality of Binangonan to the island of Talim in the middle of the lake, municipality rescue official Kenneth Cirados told AFP.

Rescuers retrieved 23 bodies from the water and there were 40 survivors, he said.

“The boat sank in front of us while on its way home to the island,” said Binangonan resident Frederic Sison, who had been standing at the Kalinawan port when the incident happened.

Rescuers were scouring the lake for the six people still missing hours after the accident, Cirados said.

Video footage of the rescue shared by the coastguard showed a man standing on the hull of the boat that was lying on its side, shouting “There are so many people here”, as small boats circled trying to help.

Another clip showed two rescuers leaning from the side of a boat to pluck a person who appeared to be unconscious from the calm waters.

Mobile phone footage taken by Sison showed anxious people standing on the shore watching the boats take part in the frantic rescue effort, AFP reported.

In the video, a young boatman said he saved four people including a disabled person and a girl.

A woman could be seen doing chest compressions on one of several victims laid out on the concrete pier, as men lifted more motionless people out of small boats.

Boats, including wooden outriggers and passenger ferries that provide transport between islands, had been ordered to shore in Luzon and central islands earlier in the week due to gale warnings as the typhoon intensified the southwest monsoon.

Typhoon Doksuri moved away on Thursday after battering the northern Philippines and enhancing seasonal monsoon rains in a large swath of the archipelago.

The boat sinking brought the death toll from stormy weather to at least 30. At least nine people were reported killed earlier, mostly due to landslides, flooding and toppled trees and thousands were displaced, disaster response officials said.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, has a poor maritime safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers used for fishing or to move people from one small island to another.

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