A picture provided by the Philippine Coast Guard shows rescuers climbing into the MV Lady Mary Joy 3 after it caught fire in Basilan, Philippines, early on Thursday.

29 with a Baby Died in a Ferry Fire in Philippine

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Investigators have yet to identify the cause of the fire that started at about 11pm on Wednesday off the southern island of Basilan when passengers were asleep in the ferry, later Philippine rescuers searched the smouldering ruins of a burnt-out ferry on Thursday for any survivors or more victims of a fire.

There were conflicting figures for the number of people on the ferry, which officials said was not overloaded. The coast guard said 225 people including 36 crew were rescued. Eleven people, including three children, drowned after jumping off the burning ship, while 18 died in the blaze on board, Governor Hadjiman Hataman Salliman told DZRH.

“I thought I was dreaming but when I opened my eyes it was dark and we were surrounded by smoke,” Mina Nani, 46, a passenger on the MV Lady Mary Joy 3, told DZRH radio. She said she survived by jumping off the vessel and sharing a floatation device with another passenger until they were rescued.

Authorities said that more victims of the fire swept through the inter-island vessel killing 29 people, including a 6-month old baby.

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