Philippine ferry with 237 passengers catches fire

A Philippine passenger ferry with 237 people on board caught fire south of Manila Sunday, at least two people killed.

Passengers have been rescued by passing vessels, but authorities are not yet certain if all have been saved from MV Catalyn D, which caught fire off Mindoro island, about 170 kilometers (106 miles) southeast of Manila, said Commander Joseph Coyme, a coast guard spokesman.

"Two dead bodies have been brought to the coast guard headquarters," Coyme said. "Most of the passengers have been rescued but we cannot confirm yet if there are still people missing."

The two fatalities were a man and a girl.

The ship was en route from Manila to southwestern Palawan province with at least 216 passengers and 21 crewmen on board when the fire broke out, prompting passengers to abandon the ferry, Coyme said.

He said several passing ships rescued passengers, and the coast guard was still in the process of matching names of people recovered with those on the manifest.

So far 128 survivors have been counted, while another passing ship which rescued about a hundred people has not yet submitted its list, Coyme said.

Tess Delgado, booking officer of the shop's owner San Nicholas Lines Inc., said aside from passengers, the ship was also loaded with cargo including rice and other commodities.

A group of rescued passengers were on their way to Manila, while another group was being ferried to Palawan's Coron town, she added.

Other details were not immediately available.