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Several dead, dozens rescued after passenger ferry catches fire off Philippines

By Ashley Williams
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Several dead, dozens rescued after passenger ferry catches fire off Philippines
Philippines coastal authorities said that about two dozen passengers were injured during the fire on Monday. Photo courtesy Philippine Coast Guard/Twitter

May 23 (UPI) -- Several people died in the Philippines on Monday and more than a hundred were rescued after a ferry caught fire and forced dozens to leap overboard into the sea, authorities said.

The MV Mercraft 2 was nearing a port in Quezon province when the fire began in the engine room, officials said. The flames quickly spread to the passenger deck.

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The vessel was heading for the Port of Real near the Polillo Strait, which is located about 40 miles east of Manila.

Authorities said that at least seven people died -- and about 120 passengers jumped ship into the sea and were rescued by other vessels.

Monday's ferry fire is the latest of several similar incidents in recent years. Several people died in December when this ferry caught fire on a river in Bangladesh. File Photo by EPA-EFE

Philippines coastal authorities said that about two dozen passengers were injured.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Monday's is the latest in a string of deadly ferry fires in recent years. A blaze off Greece in February killed several people and dozens died in December when a river ferry caught fire in Bangladesh. About two dozen people were killed in a similar fire in Indonesia in 2017.

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