MANILA, PHILIPPINES — A small boat capsized in a lake near the Philippine capital on Thursday, killing 23 people on board and leaving six others missing, rescuers said.
The accident occurred in the early afternoon at Laguna lake, 37 kilometres (23 miles) southeast of Manila, hours after Typhoon Doksuri had swept out of the northern Philippines, coast guard spokesman Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said.
“What happened was they panicked after a sudden gust of wind. They ran to the left side and the boat capsized,” Balilo told Teleradyo TV in an interview.
The small passenger boat was making its regular run from the town of Binangonan to the island of Talim in the middle of the lake, Kenneth Cirados, a rescue official in the municipality, told AFP.
Rescuers retrieved 23 bodies from the water and there were 40 survivors, he added.
Hours after the accident, rescuers were still scouring the lake for the six people still missing, Cirados said.
The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, has a poor maritime safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers used for fishing or to move people from one small island to another.