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More than 20 dead as boat capsizes near Philippine capital

More than 20 dead as boat capsizes near Philippine capital
Rescuers unload the body of a victim from a rescue boat at the Binangonan port, after a passenger boat capsized off Binangonan, in Rizal province, Philippines, 27 July 2023. According to the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Sub-Station Binangonan around 40 passengers have been rescued while 30 people have died after a passenger boat capsized on 27 July, in Laguna Lake off Binangonan, amid strong waves brought by Typhoon Doksuri. EPA-EFE/FRANCIS R. MALASIG

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) was racing against time to rescue more passengers from a vessel that capsized near Manila in strong winds on Thursday with the loss of at least 25 lives, officials said.

It was not immediately clear how many people were on board, but disaster official Neil Ferrer told DZRH radio that 40 people had been rescued and a search is ongoing for six missing people.

Members of the coast guard were seen pulling a body of what looked like a woman without a life vest from choppy waters as they carried out search and rescue operations, a video shared by the PCG showed.

The boat was about 45 metres (147 feet) from land when it was hit by strong winds, causing all passengers to panic and move to one side, which caused the vessel to capsize off the waters of Binangonan, the PCG said.

Binangonan is a coastal town just two hours of drive from the capital, Manila.

The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,600 islands, was this week hit by Typhoon Doksuri which brought winds of up to 175 km an hour (108 miles an hour) to its northern and most populated Luzon island.

Some ferries and boats were allowed to sail on Thursday after Doksuri left the Philippines.

The Southeast Asian nation has a poor record for maritime safety, with vessels at times overcrowded and many ageing ships still in use.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales, Editing by William Maclean)

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