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Vessel catches fire off Bohol; 1 dead  

Evelyn Macairan - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — A 53-year-old man died while another was reported missing when a passenger vessel caught fire as it was sailing in the waters off Bohol yesterday afternoon, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said.

The PCG public information office identified the fatality as Adolfo Rañola of Trinidad, Bohol.

Authorities have yet to determine if Rañola was a passenger or a crewmember of the M/B Mama Mary-Chloe.

The vessel, which had 157 passengers and eight crewmembers on board, was headed to Bato in Leyte from Ubay, Bohol when it figured in the accident. Fifteen of the passengers were reportedly minors.

Authorities said the Mama Mary-Chloe was not overloaded as it had a carrying capacity of 236 people.

As of 5:42 p.m. yesterday, the PCG said 163 people had been rescued.

The survivors were taken to the ports of Hilongos in Leyte, Pitogo in Quezon province and President Carlos P. Garcia in Bohol, where they were given medical attention.

Initial investigation showed the fire broke out at around 1 p.m. as the vessel was sailing between the islands of Tugas and Tilmobo, both located in the town of President Carlos P. Garcia.

Wearing life jackets, the passengers and crewmembers jumped overboard.

The PCG field station in the area received a distress call and immediately alerted other vessels located nearby to assist the Mama Mary-Chloe.

The PCG dispatched its vessel BRP Cabra to conduct a search and rescue operation.

Authorities have yet to determine the cause of the blaze.

PCG

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