Boat capsizes in Philippines; at least 5 dead, 1 missing

AP News
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Posted: Apr 03, 2015 2:27 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A passenger boat overloaded with 55 people and heavy cargo has capsized in the southern Philippines, leaving at least five dead and one missing, officials said Friday.

Coast guard spokesman William Arquero said it was unclear if more are missing because the unregistered vessel left Jolo island for nearby Tapul island without inspection and clearance from authorities. Also on board were 100 bags of cement and assorted cargo.

He said 14 survivors rescued by three passing boats were brought to a hospital while an unknown number of survivors were taken to Tapul.

According to survivors, the boat left Jolo Thursday morning and capsized several hours later, he said. The coast guard learned of the incident only on Thursday evening.

"It's possible there are more missing because we have no way of checking," Arquero said.

He said there were no gale warnings in the area, and it was likely the boat was not able to withstand the waves because it was overloaded.

Military spokesman Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said a Navy boat was sent to the area to help, and that five of the passengers were found dead.