The death toll from the sinking of a ferry off the coast of Ormoc City last Thursday reached 59 as of Saturday noon, according to a report.
A GMA News report said at least 140 has been rescued so far from MBCA Kim Nirvana-B. The ferry’s manifest indicated that there were 173 passengers and 14 crew for a total of 189 people, but authorities said the figure should be verified.
The two-deck motor banca left Ormoc port for Pilar town at 12:20 p.m. on Thursday and capsized 200 meters from the coast at the relatively calm Ormoc waters 20 minutes later.
Reports said the ferry’s overloading of cargo and passengers might have caused the accident, as survivors reportedly saw up to 150 sacks of cement in the ship’s cargo before it sank.
“The ship might not be too overloaded in terms of passengers, but imagine the weight of its cargo,” Ormoc City councilor Godiardo Edcas said in a Rappler report, adding that the ferry was carrying around 150 sacks of rice, cement and fertilizer that 7,500 pounds to the ship’s load.
The supplies carried by the ferry are usually transported to remote fishing villages.
Malacanang has expressed its sympathies with the victim’s families as it ordered the Philippine Coast Guard to come up with a thorough probe on the incident.
“We mourn with the families of those who lost their loved ones in the incident and assure them a speedy and objective investigation,” Deputy Presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said.