Death toll from Philippine boat accident rises to 26

The number of people killed when an overloaded passenger boat capsized in a Philippine lake has risen to 26, the coast guard said Friday, as the search resumed for those still missing.The wooden outrigger was carrying about 70 people on its regular run from a port in Binangonan municipality to the island of Talim in Laguna lake, near Manila, on Thursday when the accident happened.Strong winds sparked panic among passengers who moved to one side of the vessel and caused it to capsize, the coast guard said. The boat’s maximum capacity was 42.People standing on the shore watched in horror as rescuers in boats searched for victims in the murky water.Video footage of the frantic rescue operation shared by the coast guard shows a man standing on the hull of the boat lying on its side, shouting “There are so many people here”, as small outrigger boats circled trying to help.Forty people survived.Three are still missing based on official figures released Thursday.The coast guard and police are investigating the cause of the accident, which happened hours after Typhoon Doksuri had swept out of the northern Philippines.Coast guard spokesman Rear Admiral Armando Balilo said Thursday the vessel had permission to sail.Boats had been ordered to shore in Luzon and central islands earlier in the week due to gale warnings as the typhoon intensified the southwest monsoon.By nightfall on Thursday, rescuers had righted the boat and dragged it close to shore, where its yellow hull sat in shallow water.People began loading coffins of victims onto boats during the evening to transport them to funeral ceremonies.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.

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