Philippines ferry carrying 251 capsizes

  • Published
Media caption,

Video footage shows passengers being brought ashore in Quezon

A ferry carrying 251 people has capsized in stormy seas off the east coast of the Philippines.

Local fisherman and rescue boats saved more than 200 of those on board - but at least four people died and seven are missing, the coastguard says.

Passengers say large waves and strong winds meant the vessel started taking in water near the island of Polillo - and quickly sank.

Rescuers said they were hampered by heavy rain and big waves.

Image source, Kyle Villaneueva Buerano
Image caption,
The ferry was carrying 251 people when the accident occurred

Coastguard spokesman Armand Balilo said the ferry had capacity for 280 people and had not been overloaded.

"We believe the weather was a big factor [in the accident]," he added.

Boat accidents are relatively common in the Philippines, which frequently experiences storms.

Tropical Storm Tembin is forecast to hit land early on Friday and people travelling home for Christmas had been warned to do so earlier than usual.