Eleven people died and three others were missing after three passenger boats capsized in rough seas off the central Philippines on Saturday (August 3), authorities said.
Sixty-three survivors were plucked from the water after huge waves swamped the boats in the Guimaras Strait, regional police chief Rene Pamuspusan told reporters. Six of the dead were yet to be identified, the rest being Filipinos.
All three vessels plied the short 20-minute hop between the port city of Iloilo and the island of Guimaras, with two of the accidents happening almost the same time around noon, forcing the coast guard to temporarily shut down ferry services.
Services resumed in the afternoon, which was when the third boat capsized, the coast guard said. “The winds and the waves suddenly became strong,” coast guard spokesperson Armand Balilo told reporters.
Seasonal southwest monsoons have churned up the seas on the western section of the Philippines over the past week.
Philippine Red Cross posted pictures of two of the vessels on social media, showing one turned upside down as rescuers swam nearby, while the other was almost completely sunk with just the bow above water.
The Southeast Asian archipelago nation has a poor shipping safety record, with scores dying in mishaps at sea each year, usually aboard wooden-hulled outriggers that move people from one small island to another.
Boat accidents historically spike during the middle of the year when the country is hit with most of its annual average of 20 storms and typhoons.